Pharmaceutical Sales Representative will never be obsolete

The right message to the right person at the right time is the challenge of pharmaceutical sales representative. Yesterday and today.


Scientific information as seen by international studies

I need to clarify what I see in the 'crystal ball' of international studies in the future of the transformation of the company-doctor-patient relationship; what is basically true and what should be observed in order to understand the dynamics of this activity. It is clear that companies are trying to put the patient at the centre and no longer the doctor.

Pharmaceutical companies simply have to stop paying for verbal communication and radically change their business models, looking at the patient and improving outcomes, says KPMG. And it is clear that they will increasingly use new communication channels alongside the frontline pharmaceutical sales representative in Italy.


The causes of the transformation of the model

Many years ago you could find articles on the subject of the contraction of pharmaceutical sales rep expenditure. The contraction of pharmaceutical marketing andpharmaceutical sales rep expenditure according to many analysts was caused by two reasons: the introduction of generics and a reduced pipeline. By dint of repeating this, some started to believe it, or to lie to themselves. The root causes of the transformation of information were not just those two, which can generate a passing crisis and not such a deep and lasting transformation.


Dead the consumer, alive the user

The truth is another: the transformation of growing and maturing markets is a revolution. In pharma, the shift from muscular action on the product to a commitment to offer a positive consumer experience has come much later than in other sectors, but it is following the path that multinationals are taking in other, more competitive markets. In other sectors, the disappearance of the consumer understood as 'the one who consumes passively' has provoked the development of a new figure, a market actor: the user who judges - in private and in public - meditates and informs himself before buying; evaluates alternatives, listens and generates word of mouth; publicly appreciates or even sues. From the disappearance of the consumer to the appearance of the informed user, years have passed, and this has just appeared in Pharma: we move from the passive patient to the informed patient. The patient, before and/or after visiting the doctor, informs himself and evaluates both the doctor's actions and choices and the prescription. He makes the doctor his second opinion, while the first opinion is the one he gets from the Internet or from peers, friends or colleagues. If the industry can understand this transformation, it will be able to create a contact with the doctor that maximises the value he or she provides to the patient, before, during and after the visit. Then the doctor will be the point of contact between the company and the patient and no longer a mere prescriber of medicine. Only if the pharmaceutical sales rep is able to understand this transformation and manages to live it together with the pharmaceutical company, then his revolutionary work as cultural mediator will be eternal.

Pharmaceutical sales representative uses different channels

Remote pharmaceutical sales rep, websites, digital and mobile, web marketing in general, phone detailing, FADs are part of the new channels that today's physician uses to be informed. The combined use of different elements in multichannel represents the innovation of pharmaceutical sales representative, according to which the pharmaceutical company has multiple channels and not only the traditional and conventional ones. It is untrue and ungenerous to think that information in the past in general has been less valid, but it is unfortunately true that frontal pharmaceutical sales rep is no longer the only information channel that the physician uses today.

Pharmaceutical sales representative will never be obsolete only if it knows how to make use of the best innovative and traditional communication channels, then the information to the physician will be eternal. Pharmaceutical representative, after all, is a cultural industry: it produces quality content and distributes it at the right time and among the right people. This will never be obsolete. Models or channels of communication will change, as they have in recent years, but they will not obscure the centrality of scientific medical information as long as it too undergoes a profound transformation.

Pharmaceutical representative, as a highly professional and deeply regulated mode of relationship, is certainly in the future of scientific communication. The use of a mix of available channels must be mastered, without neglecting the innovative channels, but not the traditional ones either: they must be used together. Tomorrow it will be more and more about the content and less about the channel.

Looking back, what do you see? A muscular activity with tens of thousands of Pharmaceutical representative in Italy or a relationship with the doctor that can always offer him new skills to deal with therapeutic issues?

And looking at tomorrow, what do you see, the same mode of communication, the old channels?

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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