Communiqué to sales reps: With today's docs, it's the medium and the message

Almost half of doctors bar their doors to pharma sales reps some way, somehow. What with all the talk about rep access to physicians, that state of things may seem quote-unquote normal. But it's not. Just 6 years ago, the numbers were quite different.

Back then, not even a quarter of physicians restricted rep access, according to ZS Associates' annual look at the state of the pharma-rep world. Year by year, more and more doctors put reps on their restricted lists. Cities where docs have been most accessible are tightening down. And now, even "rep-friendly" specialties such as dermatology and gastroenterology are getting into the act.

Plenty of reasons for all this, including the ethical questions that prompted medical schools and teaching hospitals to clamp off rep access--and subsequent consolidation, where restrictive hospitals bought physician practices and smaller facilities, extending their rep limits along the way.

But let's look at the effects instead. As ZS Associates points out, reps spend a lot of time trying to call on doctors who aren't interested. That, in turn, costs drugmakers plenty of money. About $1.4 billion a year, in fact. (That's down by about 50% from 2008, however, the pre-patent-cliff years when companies were fielding thousands upon thousands more reps and spending a lot more money overall.) Read more from FiercePharmaMarketing >>