Shaking up pharma marketing? Your ideas

Last week, I suggested a fantasy scheme under which pharma marketing would get centralized, with reps working for a group of drugmakers rather than individual companies. My thought was that this would put the focus back on clinical benefits rather than branding. Then I asked you folks what you thought.

Here's a sampling of the feedback I got:

One reader thought the idea was great: "There definitely needs to be some distance in some areas, and better communication in the area of clinical efficacy," said the hospital manager.

Other writers blasted the idea: "So you are going to ask big pharma to basically operate in a non-competitive environment driven by the reps' given desires? A rep could certainly favor a variety of products. Who is going to drive that favoritism?"

Still another suggested that it wasn't such a pipe-dream, if doctors got annoyed enough to take pharma influence seriously: "If what you say would benefit the doctors (and I think it might) then why don't doctors just do it and quit whining about pharma influence? The docs have a government-dictated monopoly on prescribing meds. If their licensing bodies implemented this rule there is nothing Big Pharma could do about it."

So, obviously, as you might expect there's a range of feelings on idea of somehow changing the pharma marketing power structure. And of course there's no one right answer--so expect this debate to stay on center stage for years to come. - Anne

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