The Pharmaceutical Industry has been undergoing dramatic changes during the last five years that have directly affected the Sales & Marketing processes within this industry.
Mature vs. Emerging Markets
During the last 5-10 years the difference between Mature and Emerging Markets has been more significant.
An increasing level of governmental regulation limits the traditional approach of promoting pharmaceutical products. Today we see limited access to physicians in the Emerging Markets. At the same time, the physician is under increased pressure to meet with more patients, resulting in less time for each patient, less time for training, and less time for assimilating information from the pharmaceutical companies’ representatives.
Also, in the Mature Markets there is an increasing demand from the patients that the physician shall be well informed on new drugs and treatment methods. For a general practitioner this is of course a challenge and generates increased networking and co-operation with specialists. Demands from principals to prescribe approved drugs based on decisions from local medical committees or purchasing departments also have to be considered.
The Influence of the Pharmacies
The local pharmacy can be an influencer in the final choice of drug as governmental regulations or recommendations can overrule a physician’s original prescription. This is mainly applicable to non-high tech drugs as these are less likely to be substituted.
The Situation of the Pharmaceutical Representatives
Today the pharmaceutical representative gets less and less time to interact with the physician. Examples from the USA and Europe indicate an average face-to-face interaction time is between 40 seconds and 3 minutes. Studies have shown that to make an impact on prescription behavior, a total interaction time of a minimum of 40 minutes is necessary. Increased regulation from principals reduces the number of physical interactions possible and meetings tend to be with a group of physicians rather than the traditional face-to-face meeting. Meetings with a general practitioner versus a specialist have different challenges demanding approaches with the right level of knowledge and the ability to convey the right information. To be carefully prepared for each physical interaction and to add value is more important today and will continue to be so in the future as compared to the traditional chase of number of interactions with physicians.