Pharma bosses love iPads, but some reps are skeptical

More and more drugmakers are turning to iPads as sales tools. In fact, pharma companies are so jazzed about adopting the electronic tablets that they're stockpiling iPads before they've even bought or developed the software to make them functional in the field.

There are several reasons for the enthusiasm, as BNet Pharma points out. More doctors are using iPads, so sales reps with the same device could theoretically share their electronic promotional materials more easily. Also, electronic materials don't have to be printed. Pfizer expects to save half a million dollars a year on printed sales manuals and the like.

A third benefit? Compliance. Novartis' Joe Jimenez (photo) has said that electronic sales materials can't be changed easily, unlike hard-copy handouts. That would be a deterrent to marketing types who might consider promoting a product off-label. With the Justice Department keen on prosecuting marketing violations these days, that prevention could be an important factor.

But there's a cloud around this silver lining, BNet notes. Reps aren't happy about the iPad's tracking abilities. The device's location features could let management keep tabs on sales reps' whereabouts. And some sales-specific software communicates with corporate computer systems, keeping track of what salespeople do throughout the day.

- read the BNet post