Survey finds many GPs feel misunderstood by pharma

Survey finds many GPs feel misunderstood by pharma

Industry must find new ways to build relationships with time-pressed GPs

More than 40 percent of GPs view the pharma industry negatively and many believe that it misunderstands their key challenges and working practices, a survey by healthcare data and intelligence provider Binley's has found.

The 'Perceptions of Pharma' survey, which was conducted among 551 GPs in England, found that 43 per cent of GPs who felt negatively about pharma believed it had a different agenda to their own and focussed on sales and profit-making.

Twenty per cent of those respondents believed pharma did not understand how they worked and did not appreciate their needs and challenges. Seventeen per cent also felt there was a lack of understanding about prescribing budget pressures.

Overall, perceptions of the pharma industry seemed to be influenced by whether or not GPs met pharma sales representatives regularly. Those who did not see any reps held more negative opinions (56 percent negative), compared to 32 percent negative for those who saw GPs regularly.

However, the survey found that large numbers of GPs (nearly two-thirds) did not meet pharma sales reps at all, with 63 percent citing lack of time as the main reason and 19 percent restrictive practice policies of not allowing rep visits within working hours.

GPs who did engage with pharma companies regularly (36 percent) were generally satisfied, however, with Astra Zeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, GSK, Merck and Eli Lilly achieving the strongest ratings.

When asked how pharma could help them, 18 percent of GPs said fund GP education, while 12 percent wanted pharma to help educate patients to self-manage conditions and the same number wanted it to reduce drug costs/be more reasonable on pricing.

These findings linked with another part of the Perceptions of Pharma survey in which 169 GP practice nurses were asked for their views on how pharma could support them. They wanted more prescribing information specifically targeted at nurses and funding for training. The nurses cited their biggest challenges as rising patient expectations (76 percent) and increased administrative duties and box ticking (70 percent).

Sarah Eglington, healthcare intelligence director of Binley's said: "Our survey shows that securing face-to-face meetings with GPs continues to be a big challenge for pharma and cynicism about the industry abounds, particularly among the many GPs who do not regularly engage with pharma sales reps.

"However, there are still clear opportunities for the industry to build relationships with hard to reach GPs by funding education programmes and providing new support materials that will assist patients in self-managing some conditions."

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Editor's notes:
Binley's is a provider of healthcare data and intelligence to the pharmaceutical industry and other commercial organisations, charities and the public sector. Clients include a broad coverage of UK pharmacos including the top 15, as well as public sector clients such as the Department of Health, clinical commissioning groups, NHS trusts and commissioning support units.

Part of Wilmington Insight, whose group companies help clients turn data into actionable business benefit.