Popularity of Rx Sales Reps Declining
The Raleigh News & Observer on Thursday examined how pharmaceutical sales representatives, who were "once welcomed by doctors as the bearers of golf outings and days at the spa, have been pushed by many physicians to the margins of their practices."
The drug industry in 2002 adopted new ethical guidelines limiting the types of gifts that sales reps can give to doctors to small items that are related to patient care. Eric Challgren, a Raleigh, N.C., dermatologist, said that doctors now are less likely to give time to sales reps because the reps no longer "have that carrot they can dangle."
Moreover, a "new movement is encouraging hospitals affiliated with medical schools to set strict policies for gifts from drug reps or even ban them" due to concerns about industry influence, the News & Observer reports.
Pfizer's recent announcement that it plans to cut the size of its sales force by about 20% might influence other companies to reduce the size of their sales forces, the News & Observer reports. However, some doctors say the sales reps are helpful to their medical practices (Krishnan, Raleigh News & Observer, 12/21).