More oncologists closing door on pharma reps

Physicians are setting limits on how accessible they are to pharmaceutical sales reps, especially in the field of oncology. In 2012, about 61 percent of oncologists placed "moderate-to-severe" restrictions on visits from pharmaceutical sales reps, according to a report from global sales and marketing consulting firm ZS Associates, making cancer care the most restrictive of the 20 specialties measured by the report. In contrast, about 47 percent of cardiologists and only 38 percent of primary care physicians restrict rep access to the same degree.

Although oncology remains the fastest-growing therapy area in the world, accounting for 10 percent of global sales in 2011, marketers looking to avoid missed opportunities are rethinking their strategies.

"With the increasing number of approved oncology drugs and the active pipeline, properly introducing these therapies to physicians is going to get more complicated," Jon Roffman, associate principal and leader of the oncology practice's field force strategy work for ZS Associates, said in a statement. In a few years, the average rep may only meet with a doctor face-to-face about four times each year, Roffman said. "To meet this challenge, pharmacos must rethink their approach to engaging with this physician group. Both the offering and selling model must dramatically shift to adjust to the constraints and needs of oncologists," he added.

In contrast, internists and general practitioners continue to receive more visits from pharma than any other specialty--to the tune of two sales per working day, according to Cegedim Strategic Data. "Some specialties seem to be almost overwhelmed with pharmaceutical company attention," CSD wrote in an email to clients last week, according to a post from Medical Marketing & Media.

To learn more:
- see the press release from ZS Associates
- read the post from Medical Marketing & Media