Even productive reps will be obsolete, PwC says

Some more tough news for pharma reps today: A little over 10 years from now, the drug sales rep as we know him or her will be "obsolete." That's the assessment of consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which also calls the Big Pharma sales model "increasingly ineffective."

As you know, drugmakers almost everywhere are shrinking their sales forces as part of enormous cost-cutting programs. And to be fair, the sales ranks have been a big target; the number of reps swelled to 100,000 in 2005 from around 50,000 in 1996. Plus, PwC found that companies were getting less revenue per sales detail; between 2004 and 2005, that dollar amount dwindled by 23 percent, CNBC reports.

Still, it's tough to hear that you're not only ineffective but nearly obsolete. Reps can take comfort in the fact that it's nothing personal. The entire sales model is at fault.

And sales folks at some firms--the ones who deliver the most revenue per dollar of SG&A--might want to congratulate themselves. According to an analysis posted at BNet, Gilead Biosciences wins the sales-productivity prize. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Genentech, Sanofi Aventis and Abbott Laboratories round out the top five. The least productive, dollar-wise? Sepracor reps.

- see the PwC story at CNBC
- check out the BNet report