More docs tell pharma reps to keep out

It's a tough environment out there for pharma sales reps. Working in fear of the next layoff, reps are also finding more and more doors closed in their faces. We've followed plenty of these developments--the university hospitals banning reps altogether, the licensing requirement in the District of Columbia, the thicket of new rules on handouts whether they're drug samples or logo pens. Now, individual doctors' offices and group practices are getting harder to penetrate, too.

According to a new report from the market research firm SK&A (and outlined by In Vivo), the percentage of doctors who require pharma reps to make an appointment to visit their offices leapt by 22 percent in just 6 months last year. Between June and December, that fraction grew to 38.5 percent from 31.4 percent. Over the same time period, the percentage of docs who won't see reps at all, period, grew to 23.6 percent from 22.3 percent.

To drill down a bit: Among GPs, some 40 percent require appointments, up from 33 percent six months previous. Among specialists, the percentage jumped even more, to 36.6 percent from 28.3 percent. And specialty practices are more likely to bar reps completely.

SK&A speculates that doctors are busier these days, under pressure to see more patients, and often affiliated with larger organizations that increasingly are imposing systemwide rules for pharma interactions. That must be why more than half of health-system docs require appointments and 35 percent post keep-out signs. 

- read the In Vivo post