Pfizer gives the raspberry to BlackBerry

Pfizer ($PFE), which sells the hemophilia drug Xyntha, last year rolled out its HemMobile app to build its relationship with patients who use its treatments. The fact that Pfizer didn't include a version for the BlackBerry goes a long way to explaining why the drug giant is asking its own remaining BlackBerry users to turn in those phones. Fewer and fewer people use BlackBerry devices--fewer docs who prescribe drugs and few patients who take them.

Pfizer told them that given the deteriorating condition of BlackBerry, they needed to transition to an iPhone or Android phone or run the risk of waking up one day without access to their contacts or calendar, Bloomberg reports. The company declined to confirm the move, but Bloomberg has a copy of the memo that went out. It said contingency plans have been developed in case BlackBerry, which tried recently to sell itself, is unable to provide services.

"In response to declining sales, the company is in a volatile state," New York-based Pfizer told employees in a memo obtained by Bloomberg. "We recommend that BlackBerry clients use their BlackBerry devices and plan to migrate to a new device at normal contract expiration."

For pharma reps, the Apple ($AAPL) iPad has become an essential tool. And doctors are turning to their mobile devices more as many look to get drug detailing electronically instead of having to spend time in face-to-face visits with drugs reps. According to a new study from CMI/Compas, half of oncologists said they'd chat about new products with reps, while 47% of them flagged email as a preference.

Pfizer is well aware of this trend and is looking for ways to stay in contact. In September, it started a new service in the U.K. called Pfizerline, which allows primary care doctors to book time online with reps, either online or in the flesh. Ads in the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) tout the convenience of anytime, anywhere contact with Pfizer reps bearing info about the company's products. It didn't indicate whether they could use a BlackBerry.

- read the Bloomberg story

Special Report: 20 Big Pharma and biotech mobile apps - 2013

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