Data, schmata. Doctors want to feel pharma, too

Cold, hard facts aren't enough for a drug to win over doctors. They're looking for an emotional connection, too. Perhaps a no-brainer for anyone involved in pharma marketing; if personal relationships weren't so important, why would drugmakers still spend so much money on drug reps?

Still, it's nice to have cold, hard facts to back up that gut instinct. And Harris Interactive has been digging into physicians' response to drug brands, therapeutic area by therapeutic area, racking up more evidence for an emotional variable in the doctor-drug trust equation. "Our research clearly demonstrates that trust is about much more than efficacy alone," Harris SVP of Healthcare Research Joseph Vorrasi said.

The latest wave examined drugs for asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, osteoporosis, contraception and rheumatoid arthritis. Top picks? GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) Advair for asthma; Pfizer ($PFE) and Boehringer Ingelheim's Spiriva for COPD; Warner Chilcott's Actonel for osteoporosis; Bayer's new Mirena for birth control; and, in rheumatoid arthritis, a tie between AbbVie's ($ABBV) Humira, and Amgen ($AMGN) and Pfizer's Enbrel.

The trust index is based on a doctor survey about prescribing preferences, as well as about their perceptions of the drugs, the companies that produce them, and the sales reps who promote them. The results certainly support doc-detailing as a tried-and-true marketing technique. But it also backs up the usefulness of speakers' bureaus, Harris suggests, and suggests that drugmakers' corporate image also comes into play.

- read the release from Harris Interactive
- see the category rankings

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