Whose sales reps get the highest ratings--and where?

The "do not disturb" signs may be out for pharma reps at more U.S. medical practices these days. But according to a new study by Cegedim Strategic Data, sales reps are almost as popular with doctors in the U.S. as they are in Russia. And that's saying something, because Russian docs give pharma reps the highest approval ratings in the world.

Almost half of Russian physicians--roughly 47%--say sales rep visits are "very useful and of value," Cegedim says. Only 0.4% of Russian docs say rep calls aren't useful at all. Compare that to Japan, where most physicians consider sales rep visits only "somewhat useful." Or France, where 15.4% of doctors say reps are not at all useful.

And then there's the U.S. Virtually all of the surveyed doctors called rep visits at least somewhat useful, with only 2.5% saying they weren't helpful at all. And 44% saw rep visits as "very useful."

Some reps were seen as more helpful than others, as you might expect. Cegedim dug into company-by-company differences to find that, among the top 10 drugmakers, Eli Lilly ($LLY) boasted reps with the highest satisfaction ratings, with Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) reps in second place and Novartis ($NVS) in third.

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