Scott-Levin identifies 10 pharma trends

September 1, 2001

Pharmaceutical Representative

According to Newtown, PA-based Scott-Levin, the movement toward larger sales forces that began in 1995 continues unabated despite consolidation within the pharmaceutical industry.

According to Newtown, PA-based Scott-Levin, the movement toward larger sales forces that began in 1995 continues unabated despite consolidation within the pharmaceutical industry.

That's one of the trends outlined in Scott-Levin's Year in Review 2000, an overview of pharmaceutical industry activity.

Ten trends

Significant trends identified in the report include:


•Â In 2000, sales force growth occurred at companies large and small, with an average increase of 16% among the top 40 firms. Some larger companies that have not engaged in recent mergers and acquisitions may further expand their sales forces in 2001 to compete with recent mega-mergers.


• Despite the growing use of promotional methods such as direct-to-consumer advertising, pharmaceutical companies continue to rely on sales forces more than ever. After base salary, product quality is the key to keeping and motivating productive salespeople.


• Specialty sales reps can have a big impact on prescribing. Eighty-four percent of physicians say a specialty rep's detailing presentation has at least some impact on their decision to prescribe.


• Direct-to-consumer advertising is now a cornerstone of pharmaceutical promotion and will continue to grow in importance. Direct-to-consumer spending on antihistamines rose 15% in 2000; for cholesterol reducers, it more than doubled.


• While spending on ads in professional journals remains level, journal ads continue to be an important medium for reaching doctors. In 2000, journal expenditures to advertise proton pump inhibitors climbed a whopping 84%.


• Dramatically illustrating the growing influence of managed care, third parties in 2000 paid for twice as many prescriptions as did cash and Medicaid combined.


• The aging of the baby-boom generation is evidenced by the three most common health problems that brought patients into physicians' offices in 2000: hypertension, type II diabetes and high cholesterol.


• Physician meetings and events have practically become a rite of passage for new drugs. Events for quinolone antibiotics doubled in 2000; events for proton pump inhibitors rose 71%. This growth was fueled by new product launches.


• Concerns about growing healthcare costs prompted many state legislatures in 2000 to consider mandating public or private coverage for education, prevention and treatment relating to chronic conditions, including asthma and diabetes.


• As the influence of managed care mounts, more pharmaceutical companies are trying to gain a strategic advantage by hiring dedicated managed care reps and sending more specialty reps to managed care organizations.

Scott-Levin is a subsidiary of Research Triangle Park, NC-based Quintiles Transnational Corp. PR

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