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5 Trends Affecting Promotion to HCPs – Implications for Pharma Marketers

Today’s pharma marketing environment presents many challenges and ever-changing dynamics. As regulations, physician preferences, and technology continues to change rapidly, the pharma marketer has many trends to take into consideration.
  • Price pressure on payers
  • Restrictions to access by payers
  • Regulatory/legal risk aversion
  • Decreased sales rep access
  • Decreased reimbursement to docs
  • Adoption of EMR
  • Interaction with consumers via social media
  • MD use of mobile devices

Study: Pharma executives expecting to shift spend from physicians to payors

In a recent study of pharma executives, it’s evident that most are expecting to decrease their spend on physicians (32% decrease) and key opinion leaders (12% decrease) and shift their spending to payers (47% increase) and key accounts (32% increase). This is definitely causing a shift in the type of marketing activities. Among the top activities that pharma execs are expecting to increase their spend on is:

  • Innovative pricing strategies (59% increase)
  • Payor collaborations (59% increase)
  • Pharmaceutical studies (55% increase)
  • Direct-to-consumer (48% increase)

Consequently, pharma execs are preparing for a shift in the way their reps spend time on their core product. As time with physicians continues to decrease, strategies are shifting to the areas in which physicians spend time. Consider this:

  • 99% of physicians have a computer or laptop
  • 84% of physicians have a smartphone
  • 54% own a tablet

The research backs this up too. Physicians are shifting their preference to digital channels for information. In fact, in a recent Manhattan study, physicians are believed to be 2X more likely to seek out a digital channel for information than a print piece. Google has data to support this notion also.

  • 84% of physicians use search engines for professional purposes (94% turn to Google specifically)
  • 39% visit portal websites specifically intended for physicians
  • 7% seek out pharma/biotech product websites
  • 7% seek out pharma/biotech corporate websites

But, physicians still want to see reps

While physicians are becoming more digital active and prefer digital interactions, we’re not at the end of the road for the in-person pharma sales rep.

  • 79% of primary care physicians prefer in-person dialog with reps
  • 74% of specialists prefer in-person dialog with reps

And while physicians are seeking out information online, they don’t have quite the same sentiment when it comes to computer-based, remote detailing by a rep.

  • 23% of primary care physicians prefer computer-based, remote detailing
  • 28% of specialists prefer computer-based, remote detailing

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