Survey ranks companies that provide most physician support

April 1, 2002

Pharmaceutical Representative

Physicians rated Pfizer, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Ortho-McNeil, Eli Lilly and Aventis as the companies best supporting the overall needs of their practices.

Physicians rated New York-based Pfizer Inc.; Whitehouse Station, NJ-based Merck & Co. Inc.; Research Triangle Park, NC-based GlaxoSmithKline; Raritan, NJ-based Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc.; Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co.; and Parsippany, NJ-based Aventis Pharma AG as the companies best supporting the overall needs of their practices, according to a survey by Whitehouse, NJ-based Health Products Research Inc., a division of Ventiv Health Inc., New York.

Approximately 9,000 physicians participated in the survey, in which they were asked to rate the top three companies best supporting the overall needs of their practice, and the factors distinguishing these companies from the rest. In total, 11 unique specialty segments were represented in the research.

General/family practice rankings

Among the broader general/family practitioner audience (1,115 respondents), Pfizer, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline ranked one, two and three, respectively. The most common reasons cited by physicians for ranking Pfizer were: availability of drug samples, frequency of seeing the rep, quality of patient education and the ongoing support of professional education through continuing medical education programs. Pfizer ranked number one among five of the 11 specialty segments covered in the research, including internal medicine, pediatrics, general surgery, cardiology and general/family practice, and placed within the top three in 10 out of the 11 specialty segments covered (oncology being the only exception).

Other specialties

Among pediatricians participating in the research (1,470 respondents), Pfizer (34%) edged out Columbus, OH-based Ross Products (32%) - a division of Abbott Park, IL-based Abbott Laboratories - and GlaxoSmithKline (32%) for the top position. Physicians liked the fact that Ross has a "full range of infant formula products," in addition to providing excellent support of patient programs, including infant formula samples, coupons, booklets and growth charts.

Over 60% of the 1,000-plus OB/GYNs surveyed ranked Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical as the company that best supports this specialty group. Philadelphia-based Wyeth-Ayerst Pharmaceuticals (41%) and Pfizer (30%) followed. OB/GYNs frequently cited Ortho-McNeil as having "friendly and courteous" reps who are sensitive to the physician's time constraints, in addition to having an excellent women's health product line, strong patient education support and excellent sampling support for its product line.

GlaxoSmithKline ranked number one among neurologists (57%), followed by Pfizer (44%) and East Hanover, NJ-based Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. (35%). GlaxoSmithKline also ranked first among pulmonary disease specialists, with 82% of this audience citing the company - by far the highest percentage achieved by any company covered in the research.

Merck achieved the top position among orthopedic surgeons, with 57% of physicians citing the company as best supporting their needs, followed by Pfizer (49%) and Pharmacia (33%). Lilly (52%) ranked first among psychiatrists, followed by Pfizer (48%) and GlaxoSmithKline (30%). Within the oncology/hematology sector, Aventis Pharmaceuticals (41%) was rated number one, followed by New York-based Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (36%) and Raritan, NJ-based Ortho Biotech (33%).

Interestingly, analysis of the research by physician segment did yield differences in company rank among certain specialty groups. For example, among cardiologists, Pfizer (64%) and Merck (58%) ranked number one and two, respectively, overall. However, among those cardiologists writing a larger number of prescriptions (decile 5-10 physicians), Merck was the top-ranked company, mentioned by 67% of physicians in this segment, followed by Pfizer (58%). Based on information captured in the Metropolitan Area Promotional Audit service, Merck sales representatives are reaching a greater proportion of these higher-value physicians than any other company. PR

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