Pharmaceutical Sales Rep in Italy must change: a new portrait

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative in Italy must change now or it will be overwhelmed.

As early as the GFK- Eurisco research in 2013, a disturbing picture emerged of the role of the Pharmaceutical Sales Representative and his relationship with the doctor. These alarming data are confirmed by further research conducted by the Merqurio research centre. According to Eurisco's research, in their professional activities, doctors use the Pharmaceutical Sales Representative 90-96%, depending on the specialisation, for their professional updating, for an average total of 91%.

According to the same research, doctors update themselves via the Internet according to the same percentage. But when asked 'how useful do you consider each channel to be in carrying out your profession', the data are sadly eloquent: 39-46% of the professionals surveyed - with an average of 41% - consider the pharmaceutical sales representative's presentation to be useful; while 55-79% - with an average of 71% - consider the internet to be a useful channel for keeping up to date; finally, 37% of doctors consider the connection with an Pharmaceutical Sales Rep via the web or online to be useful for keeping up to date. 58% of the doctors surveyed consider the Internet to be a source of professional updating and only 3% consider the Internet to be a waste of time.

With these international data and trends, confirmed by a research by the Merqurio study centre on the behaviour of the Italian doctor, many pharmaceutical companies and managers are moving in the direction of Non Personal Promotion (NPP). The world that the pharmaceutical sales representative in Italy knew, the doctor he or she used to see, have changed, and every obstacle to change is a step towards building a wall of sand and not in the direction of welcoming and satisfying this new model. Other European panel research 'New data from M3 Global Research shows that doctors want to work with pharmaceutical companies that have embraced the digital revolution: 80% of doctors across the EU want to keep up with new drug developments and digital is one of their preferred channels for receiving professional information. In response to this, pharma should use the potential of digital to engage their target audience, create new experiences, add value to their professional lives and support them in their often difficult work".

The pharmaceutical sales representative must change now

The doctor expects more expertise, more information, more quality of the visit. The doctor does not create stable relationships with the whistleblower with the aim of having a personal relationship with him, but a professional one. The doctor is a professional who expects, during the pharmaceutical sales rep's visit, that the sales rep will pass on information useful to himself and his patient. The doctor is a man of today, who uses smartphones, who reads on the internet, who keeps up to date with newsletters, who uses apps for medicines and interactions.

The pharmaceutical sales representative in Italy must be a professional who is able to put himself at the centre of the doctor's communication model, understanding the doctor's need for content, mediating to allow the doctor a faster and more effective understanding of the information content. Making 100 the total information that doctors receive, according to recent market and behavioural research data, in their professional activity, only 12%, on average, comes from frontal pharmaceutical sales representative. This figure rises to 22% in the case of GPs.

The portrait of the new Pharmaceutical Sales Rep in Italy

The medical representative must become the fulcrum of the relationship between doctor and company and not let this role be conquered by the 'internet', i.e. by an uncontrolled collection of information published on the web. The doctor's trust in the pharmaceutical sales representative is very high, but it is not enough just to maintain it, the pharmaceutical sales rep must stop being a passive intermediary and become a transducer of scientific content.

Three parameters in order of importance

I want to propose a model to be used to measure, as far as possible, the impact of pharmaceutical sales rep with the doctor. To be clearer - and I hope useful, without stirring up controversy - I want to give you a tool to measure the quality of scientific information as I see it.

1. Time of the visit when the doctor talks about or asks for more information about: the use or therapy or other information about the product or the pathology of the product;

2. Number of interventions the doctor makes in relation to the topic raised by the FSI: in terms of questions, requests, professional solicitations;

3. Duration of the visit: measured only in the professional section excluding the pleasantries on which someone lingers.

These three parameters can reasonably represent, in practical terms, the impact and memorability of the visit. Mentally mark these values at the end of the visit, purging the unnecessary and pleonastic part of the time spent uselessly introducing the visit with amusing arguments. Check how much time the doctor spends on you, with questions, requests, prompts, issues relevant to the proposed topic, and put this in relation to the overall time of the visit. You will derive useful information that will change your perception of the individual doctor and alter your professional attitude. And perhaps you will be able to pick up on the propensity or interest in prescribing. Do it now, tomorrow may be too late, the doctor may ask these questions while surfing the Internet.

Salvatore Ruggiero

Salvatore Ruggiero

Salvatore Ruggiero nasce a Napoli nel 1964, si definisce un imprenditore seriale. Oggi a capo del gruppo Merqurio, di cui è stato anche fondatore. Sposato con Giuseppina, ha due figli e nel tempo libero, tra un'escursione e un'altra, tra un film ed un altro, è alla ricerca della ricetta dei biscotti perfetti.

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