As rep ranks thin, doc satisfaction goes up

Here's another hint of the sometimes-tense relationship between pharma reps and doctors: Sales reps may be suffering from the thousands of layoffs over the last couple of years, but physicians say they're happy with the result. According to a sales force effectiveness study from SDI, 57 percent of doctors said the number of sales reps calling on them was appropriate, compared with just 50 percent in 2004. Plus, only 20 percent say too many reps call on them, compared with 25 percent four years ago.

According to SDI's numbers, the ranks of pharma reps have shrunk by 10,000 over the past four years, to 92,000 in 2008 from 102,000 in 2004. The 2008 figures don't include the ongoing cutbacks, so 2009 figures are likely to be significantly lower still.

Which drugmaker's reps are best? Bragging rights go again to Pfizer, which ranked No. 1 in traditional detailing, just as it did in 2006. AstraZeneca came in second, up from fifth place in 2006.

- read the release from SDI