What experts predict this year

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Pharmaceutical Representative

Pharmaceutical Representative recently asked industry experts to predict the future. The following are their responses about the coming year.

Pharmaceutical Representative recently asked industry experts to predict the future. The following are their responses about the coming year.

Prediction: Sales force upsizing will continue.

•Â Bonnie Hauser, consultant, Coopers & Lybrand, Chicago: "In general, pharmaceutical companies are regaining confidence in their ability to influence prescribing and drug selection. They are upsizing and broadening their sales forces to better respond to the influence of managed care."

Prediction: Reps will become more specialized.

•Â Jane Hart, director of business operations, Roche Laboratories: "Because drugs are getting more technical, companies need to have specialized reps.

"Plus, the message these reps deliver won't always be drug-related. These reps are going to be telling doctors how to comply with managed care plans and run their businesses."

Prediction: Physician access will become more difficult still.

•Â Dan Long, R.N., regional director of managed health care, Pacific Region, for Glaxo Wellcome: "In the West, the major issue for reps will be access to facilities, such as large medical groups. As more of these groups merge, they are locking out reps.

"Plus, more preferred provider organizations are using closed formularies with differential copays, which creates an 'electronic lockout' of reps. Also, more pharmacy benefit managers and insurers are writing benefit plans with new language that allows them to lock out certain products."

Prediction: It will be politics as usual at the federal level.


•Â Al Boyette, president, MCR Associates: "I don't think we're going to see many changes in the political arena because we still have a Republican Congress and a Democratic president. I also don't think Clinton will attempt another big-time change in the health care system."

Prediction: More power will shift to the states.

•Â Victor Freeman, M.D., research fellow with the Clinical Economics Research Unit at Georgetown University Medical Center: "We will begin to see power shifting to the states. This has already been happening with Medicaid waivers, and soon we will see it with the entire welfare system.

"The key issue for the pharmaceutical industry will be building influence at the state level. Currently, companies don't seem to have great influence at the state level.

"As states begin to look at what they are paying for, they are going to look for bad guys. Doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies are all candidates. It will be important for the industry to have contacts in state legislatures and within state administrations so they can make legislators aware of their indigent drug programs and other programs designed to have a positive impact on the cost, quality and access issues regarding pharmaceutical use. Otherwise, they are going to look like they are simply profiteering off of the state, taxpayers and the poor."

Prediction: The sales automation industry will consolidate.

•Â Jeff Golterman, research director of sales leadership strategies at Gartner Group, Stamford, CT: "There will be accelerated consolidation of the vendor community in technology-enabled selling, through possible mergers and acquisitions.

Prediction: The industry will still face the "big" issues.

•Â Ralph Bohrer, vice president of sales at Medicis Dermatologics, Phoenix, AZ: "There is no single 'crossroads' issue that will affect the pharmaceutical industry in 1997, although managed care and industry consolidation will obviously continue to impact what we do." PR