Pfizer shines in doctor poll, winning praise for innovative ads and leadership across therapeutic areas

Physicians like Pfizer. That is the takeaway from a survey of 160 doctors, which found the Big Pharma is seen as a leader in three out of five therapeutic areas and is recognized for its innovative ads.

That's according to a new report out by ZoomRx, which asked docs for their views on how drugmakers perform on a range of metrics in five therapeutic areas. Pfizer topped the leaderboard in cardiovascular, vaccines and oncology. Only AbbVie in immunology and Biogen in neuroscience prevented Pfizer from completing a clean sweep of the five therapeutic areas.

A closer look at the oncology data shows what Pfizer is doing right. More than half, 53%, of respondents named Pfizer as a leader in oncology, putting it joint first with AstraZeneca on that measure. And the Big Pharma put daylight between itself and rivals on other metrics, with 60% of physicians naming it as a top source of innovative cancer advertisements. AstraZeneca came second on the innovative ad metric at 50%.

Even so, there are opportunities for Pfizer to improve in oncology. The company, which has built (PDF) a $12 billion oncology franchise around Ibrance, placed third on the rankings of best-in-class sales reps and medical science liaison (MSL) interactions, trailing AstraZeneca and Merck & Co. on both lists. 

Pfizer’s sales reps and MSL staff fared better in other therapeutic areas. In vaccines, Pfizer topped the sales rep leaderboard and came in second behind GSK on the measure of MSL interactions. As in cancer, Pfizer led the way in terms of innovative ads in the vaccine space, where it was joint first with GSK, and in cardiovascular disease. 

Typically, the companies that physicians saw as leaders in a therapeutic area performed well on most of the metrics covering sales reps, MSL interactions, innovative ads and more. The notable exception is Sanofi in the vaccine space. Half of the polled physicians named Sanofi as a vaccine leader, putting it and Merck joint second behind Pfizer, but few doctors had good things to say about the French drugmaker. 

Sanofi ranked fifth or sixth on many of the other metrics. Less than one-quarter, 23%, of physicians named Sanofi as a company with a portfolio of innovative vaccines, putting it joint fifth with BioNTech and a few percentage points ahead of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen. While Sanofi sells vaccines against a plethora of diseases, BioNTech and J&J are small players in the space known for their COVID-19 shots.