Balance Geographic Responsibilities to Strengthen Pharmaceutical Call Center Structure

Victoria Cavicchi, pharmaceutical medical affairs researcher
By Victoria Cavicchi,
Research Analyst

As life sciences companies cultivate a more global reach, the medical information function must also grow to span worldwide operations.  For many companies, this means maintaining a number of medical information groups — including both a global function and localized teams, in addition to a more established call center system. The ways in which these global, regional and country-level teams work together drive team activities and also determine pharmaceutical call center structure. Continue reading

Selecting the Right Key Opinion Leader is Imperative in an Era of Increased Transparency

Eric Bolesh, commercialization and alliance management expert
By Eric Bolesh,
Senior Director

GlaxoSmithKline recently announced that it will create an internal team of doctors tasked with educating peers about its products. In December 2013, GSK decided to stop hiring external speakers. The company hopes that “hiring doctors and medical experts to speak as in-house representatives of Glaxo will provide more transparency,” according to Deirdre Connelly, GSK president, North America pharmaceuticals. The decision to form an internal education team underscores the importance of engaging physicians in discussions regarding product efficacy. When making prescribing decisions, physicians look to well-respected peers to affirm their choices as they seek to treat patients using the best possible options. Continue reading

The Key to Key Account Management: Unlocking the Potential of Pharma Sales Forces

It’s old news: Gone are the days of the massive pharmaceutical rep armies.  Pharma companies have been trimming down their sales forces and looking for new ways to make the most of their physician relationships.  One option that companies implement is the switch from the sales rep model to one that focuses on account managers instead.  Often, however, this transition is nothing but a change of title, with no additional customer relationship management (CRM) techniques or change in the way that reps introduce their targets to the product. The time that physicians can give to reps is constantly on the decline, however.  Companies need to not only change the sales rep’s title, but also the behaviors he or she uses to interact with physicians so as to best grab the attention that they require. Continue reading

Drug Company Research Payments Exceed Promotional Speeches

Elio Evangelista, physician fair-market value expert
By Elio Evangelista,
Senior Director

Although the government has varying motivations for requiring drug and device companies to disclose the payments they make to physicians, one consequence — intended or otherwise — is that drug company research payments have begun to exceed payments to physicians for promotional speeches.  They’re also paying less money to doctors as a whole.

ProPublica’s Dollars for Doctors database houses the physician compensation data for 15 pharmaceutical companies that have been publishing information about the payments they make to doctors as far back as 2009.  The cumulative amounts paid since then by 13 of these 15 companies total more than $2 billion.  (Allergan and Valeant have disclosed payment ranges and not fixed numbers, so they’re more difficult to include in the cumulative total.) Continue reading

Closed Loop Systems: Empowering Sales Reps and Building Physician Relationships

Closed loop systems help pharmaceutical companies drive their sales effectiveness by improving existing physicians and sales reps’ relationships.  Closed loop system marketing structures — supported by audience feedback — help companies track physicians’ preferences.  For example, after a sales representative details a physician, he or she may send the presentation materials — along with physician feedback — to the company database where it becomes part of the physician’s profile.  Based on physician feedback, pharmaceutical sales reps are able to target doctors more effectively.  Consequently, doctors are more satisfied with reps’ presentations. Continue reading

Medical Publications Teams Worthy of Funding

With tightening restrictions on how marketing and sales reps can interact with physicians, medical publication has become a vital task for communicating clinical information from drug companies to physicians. While publications help companies reach anywhere from tens to thousands of physicians depending on the journal, the fact that medical publication teams need to avoid using commercial measures prevents them from utilizing traditional return on investment metrics. Unfortunately, those are the numbers that senior executives typically know how to weigh the best. Even so, many medical publications teams have been able to create strategies through both hard and soft metrics to effectively measure performance and gain management buy-in. Continue reading

Price Accountability Comes to Sales Reps via Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) ride through legislative and judicial hurdles has focused on the high profile aspects of the law including the insurance mandate and state Medicaid responsibilities.  However, one part of the law that will have a major impact on both patients and pharmaceutical sales forces is the establishment of accountable care organizations (ACOs) that bring physicians, hospitals and pharmacies together to create a more cohesive healthcare package for patients.  This means that doctors would be made aware of potentially conflicting medications a patient may already be taking and be able to recommend a less risky course of a treatment and introduce a level of price accountability for sales reps. Continue reading

Proactive MSL Strategy Promotes Engaging Thought Leaders Early

As pharmaceutical companies expand their MSL functions worldwide, companies are placing additional emphasis on thought leader identification.  Identifying potential new thought leaders has always been a point of emphasis, but it has certainly increased in the last few years — in fact, a recent Cutting Edge Information report indicates that MSL teams allocate more than 40% of their time to thought leadership management activities. Continue reading