Thursday, July 19, 2007

Should Drug Reps Know Every Detail of What a Physician Prescribes?

Today we have a guest columnist writing for Question Authority - PharmaSpy:

Should Drug Reps Know Every Detail of What a Physician Prescribes?

Right now they can, down to a single prescription on a weekly basis. They know what percent market share any doctor writes for any drug. They also know how much of the competition that doctor is using.

But they’re not supposed to talk about it, especially with the doctor. It’s ‘proprietary company information’. Drug reps know more about what physicians write than the doctor himself.

Pharmaceutical companies buy pharmacy information from IMS ( other ‘data mining’ outfits as a ‘solution’ to ‘sales force effectiveness’. Here’s how they describe this service:

“One of the most critical success factors for any drug company is the productivity of its sales force. IMS supports sales executives, managers and reps with a range of offerings that empower them to make better, faster, smarter decisions in areas such as: segmentation, and call planning, sales force sizing and deployment, compensation and territory management.”

The word ‘segmentation’ is important here. Big writers are separated from losers. The top guys get all the perks of a drug rep’s attention: speaking engagements, honorarium, research grants, dinner lectures, samples, lunches, CME programs, cupcakes etc. The benefits are piled high to influence their writing habits under the guise of ‘patient health first’.

The good news is that AMA physicians have an ‘opt-out’ program, sort of like a ‘do not call list’ for prescribing data. Simply log onto the AMA website and click on the Physician Data Restriction Program (PDRP) link ( ) to go stealth on the drug industry.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the AMA also sell doctor information? They have a hand in it; I just can't remember how exactly and I'm too lazy to go look.

I've been reading your blog for a while, Peter, and it seems this new career really suits you. Keep up the good work.