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It’s Time To Kill The Medical Representative and Accept A Better Marketing Model

Pharmaceutical detailing is a 1:1 marketing technique used by almost all pharmaceutical companies to educate a physician about their products in hopes that the physician will prescribe the company’s products more often. Although this practice is controversial, many drug companies spend billions of dollars a year on this legal tactic.

This 1:1 marketing is conducted by a Medical Representatives with whom the Physicians share very strong and unusual relationships. A medical representative is ideally a catalyst who conveys knowledge on most recent trends in medical diagnostic and treatment to the doctors. They are supposed to do this while representing the brands and the company as true partners for helping the physician serves the best healthcare treatment to patients. But in reality almost all medical representatives are being treated only as sales personals, for a valid reason.

Due to multiple brands with the same generic the market is overpopulated, making it very difficult for the companies to differentiate its brand from the others. The result is a chaos in the physician’s chamber. All MRs visiting the doctor detail the same generics with different brand names with hardly any valid differentiation. Most of the MRs are ill-informed and skip most details of the brand to keep their visits short for the convenience of the doctor. The physicians sees absolutely no value in these visits as they know that the representatives will not add to their knowledge but only push them to buy or prescribeThey are able to find new and updated information through the internet and social interaction with other physicians.

To counteract this situation, Pharma companies offer gifts, trips to various destinations and CMEs to the Physicians to add value to the MR’s visit and gain acceptance. But many state regulatory bodies have observed this practice and have mandated reporting requirements for to discourage ill-practices in pharmaceutical detailing thereby banning gifts and other offerings to the physicians.

Also, today healthcare policy-makers, pharmacists, payers and patient groups are now playing an increasingly important role in the valuation process – and this trend will accelerate, as healthcare expenditure everywhere continues to soar. Many policy-makers and payers have started trying to measure exactly what they are getting for their money.

I come from a pharma background. I have personally witnessed this dilemma since a long time and have discussed it with many decisions makers in various pharmaceutical MNCs. For almost 2 years our marketing experts researched this scenario at EBC&D (Enthof Brand Communications & Designs – Singapore) and we concluded that the Medical Representative has to be killed if pharma companies want to grow. Simply surviving is just another way towards slower death. Therefore, we have created a new model for pharma marketing with a very small role to the MR and we expect the results to be phenomenal. Right now I can’t openly share more than that.

Times for Pharma are changing soon and if they want to market their brands effectively the new model of brand communication has to be accepted. This will not only save Pharma companies millions but also help them present their brands in the market in the most acceptable way.

If you are one of the decision makers at a pharma company and felt intrigued with our newly developed model of brand communication for pharma marketing, write to me at donald.g@enthof.com. I will contact you with more details.


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