Study details Internet policies

April 1, 2000

Pharmaceutical Representative

A new study by Management Recruiters International, a Cleveland-based search and recruitment company, shows that, as the Internet has become increasingly popular in the workplace, many pharmaceutical companies are adopting formal policies about its use.

A new study by Management Recruiters International, a Cleveland-based search and recruitment company, shows that, as the Internet has become increasingly popular in the workplace, many pharmaceutical companies are adopting formal policies about its use.

Of the 287 pharmaceutical industry executives surveyed, 82% said that management-level employees at their companies who have PCs on their desks also have access to the Internet, and 56% said their companies have an Internet usage policy in place. In addition, 26% said that their companies have filtering software in place to block employees from visiting certain sites, especially adult Web sites, but also e-commerce and personal finance sites.

"Clearly, access to the Internet has had major benefits in the workplace today," said Neil Fox, chief information officer at MRI. "It gives employees easy access to an unlimited world of information that can greatly enhance job performance."

Reps affected

Many pharmaceutical companies are balancing the need for sales representatives to have access to up-to-date medical information over the Internet with the need for policies to restrict access to sites that are inappropriate for use on company time. TAP Pharmaceuticals, Deerfield, IL, is one company faced with this dilemma. "We want them to have access to medical journals and things like that," said Hernan Cortez, manager of TAP University, TAP's training program. Cortez conceded, however that the Internet has the potential for abuse and said the company has plans to install firewall software that would block non-work-related sites.

Cortez said the potential gains from allowing reps access to the Internet far outweigh the potentials for abuse. "When you have a Web site, you obviously have more access, you can do things a lot quicker than you could on an Intranet. You're not as limited." PR

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