Balance Geographic Responsibilities to Strengthen Pharmaceutical Call Center Structure

Victoria Cavicchi, pharmaceutical medical affairs researcher
By Victoria Cavicchi,
Research Analyst

As life sciences companies cultivate a more global reach, the medical information function must also grow to span worldwide operations.  For many companies, this means maintaining a number of medical information groups — including both a global function and localized teams, in addition to a more established call center system. The ways in which these global, regional and country-level teams work together drive team activities and also determine pharmaceutical call center structure. Continue reading


The Key to Key Account Management: Unlocking the Potential of Pharma Sales Forces

It’s old news: Gone are the days of the massive pharmaceutical rep armies.  Pharma companies have been trimming down their sales forces and looking for new ways to make the most of their physician relationships.  One option that companies implement is the switch from the sales rep model to one that focuses on account managers instead.  Often, however, this transition is nothing but a change of title, with no additional customer relationship management (CRM) techniques or change in the way that reps introduce their targets to the product. The time that physicians can give to reps is constantly on the decline, however.  Companies need to not only change the sales rep’s title, but also the behaviors he or she uses to interact with physicians so as to best grab the attention that they require. Continue reading



Drug Companies Pay More for Research Than for Promotional Speeches

Elio Evangelista, physician fair-market value expert
By Elio Evangelista,
Senior Director

Although the government has varying motivations for requiring drug and device companies to disclose the payments they make to physicians, one consequence — intended or otherwise — is that companies have begun to pay physicians more for research activities compared to promotional speeches.  They’re also paying less money to doctors as a whole.

ProPublica’s Dollars for Doctors database houses the physician compensation data for 15 pharmaceutical companies that have been publishing information about the payments they make to doctors as far back as 2009.  The cumulative amounts paid since then by 13 of these 15 companies total more than $2 billion.  (Allergan and Valeant have disclosed payment ranges and not fixed numbers, so they’re more difficult to include in the cumulative total.) Continue reading


Closed Loop Systems: Empowering Sales Reps and Building Physician Relationships

Closed loop systems help pharmaceutical companies drive their sales effectiveness by improving existing physicians and sales reps’ relationships.  Closed loop system marketing structures — supported by audience feedback — help companies track physicians’ preferences.  For example, after a sales representative details a physician, he or she may send the presentation materials — along with physician feedback — to the company database where it becomes part of the physician’s profile.  Based on physician feedback, pharmaceutical sales reps are able to target doctors more effectively.  Consequently, doctors are more satisfied with reps’ presentations. Continue reading


Medical Publications Teams Worthy of Funding

With tightening restrictions on how marketing and sales reps can interact with physicians, medical publication has become a vital task for communicating clinical information from drug companies to physicians. While publications help companies reach anywhere from tens to thousands of physicians depending on the journal, the fact that medical publication teams need to avoid using commercial measures prevents them from utilizing traditional return on investment metrics. Unfortunately, those are the numbers that senior executives typically know how to weigh the best. Even so, many medical publications teams have been able to create strategies through both hard and soft metrics to effectively measure performance and gain management buy-in. Continue reading


Price Accountability Comes to Sales Reps via Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act’ (ACA) ride through legislative and judicial hurdles has focused on the high profile aspects of the law including the insurance mandate and state Medicaid responsibilities.  However, one part of the law that will have a major impact on both patients and pharmaceutical sales forces is the establishment of accountable care organizations (ACOs) that bring physicians, hospitals and pharmacies together to create a more cohesive healthcare package for patients.  This means that doctors would be made aware of potentially conflicting medications a patient may already be taking and be able to recommend a less risky course of a treatment. Continue reading


Proactive MSL Strategy Promotes Engaging Thought Leaders Early

As pharmaceutical companies expand their MSL functions worldwide, companies are placing additional emphasis on thought leader identification.  Identifying potential new thought leaders has always been a point of emphasis, but it has certainly increased in the last few years — in fact, a recent Cutting Edge Information report indicates that MSL teams allocate more than 40% of their time to thought leadership management activities. Continue reading


Applications in Diagnostic Radiology for Physician-Facing Mobile Initiatives

The game has changed for many medical fields as digital technology has overtaken the world’s storage and communication systems.  Recently, I wrote about mobile health applications targeting patients through adherence programs.  But it turns out that physicians are at least equally critical end users of mobile initiatives.  One such application that technology companies have explored is a system that optimizes access and manipulation of diagnostic images to help radiologists work faster and smoother.  New innovations in this area not only make physicians’ work easier, but also add an element of patient safety that had not previously existed. Continue reading


Aim for Cooperation, Not Competition, Between MSLs and Sales Reps

Sales teams and medical science liaisons (MSLs) might be seen as having distinct objectives, but in reality the two groups can work well together for the benefit of the company.  ‘Synergies’ might have become an overused and clichéd business mantra, but in this case the principle holds water.  Sales teams sometimes feel threatened by the decline in numbers in their ranks while MSL groups continue to grow, though modestly.  This tension is sometimes complicated by organizational firewalls erected between commercial and medical groups that can stifle effective communication. Continue reading