Here's a welcome new-drug side effect: Physician access is on the rise, CMI/Compas' survey shows

The doctor is ready to see you, pharma. CMI/Compas' annual Media Vitals study out today forecasts increased access to physicians for pharma companies this year.

CMI/Compas Chief Commercial Officer Susan Dorfman

Across the board, physicians are more willing to talk to pharma companies, with only 19% saying they won't see reps in person, down from 25% in 2014. Susan Dorfman, CMI/Compas' chief commercial officer, said in the three previous years of the study, doctors noted tighter access to reps and decreased engagement with pharma brands.

However, this year more physicians--especially those in specialty treatment fields--are more open to engaging with pharma companies, both in person and through nonpersonal promotions. The trend is being driven by a plethora of innovative new medicines, which require learning and knowledge gathering, Dorfman said.

"This year what's interesting is around innovation. They're not just me-too products, these are truly different products in the marketplace," she said in an interview, and added via the report, "Innovations like those we are seeing gaining approvals this year bring hope for health. The wide range of therapies approved for launch in 2015 have generated excitement in cardiology, oncology, dermatology, endocrinology and many more, bringing significant possibilities for real change in healthcare delivery."

When it comes to face-to-face sales rep meetings, more than half (52%) of physicians who planned to prescribe a drug upon approval said they will see reps without restrictions. Another 30% of those early prescribers said they're willing to see reps by appointment.

Primary care physicians, cardiologists and oncologists increased pharma's access by the biggest percentages this year. At the other end of the spectrum, OB/GYNs and dermatologists were the specialists that most decreased access, moving more than other specialties from unrestricted to restricted access.

Doctors are also open to nonpersonal communications, the study found. Print journals are the most-used nonpersonal promotion, followed by direct mail and conferences, with the latter being either in-person attendance or following conference news. Advertising in electronic health records was reported as low in the study, but CMI/Compas' other studies have shown that EHR messaging gets noticed more when tailored to physician workflow and patient need.

- download the report

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