SK&A Announces Drug Sample Acceptance Rate

August 04, 2011

23 percent of doctors say no to free drug samples offered by the pharmaceutical Industry

Irvine, CA - SK&A, A Cegedim Company, a leading provider of healthcare information solutions and research, today announced the results of a year-long survey to determine physician preferences for accepting drug sample packages provided by pharmaceutical companies.

In pharmaceutical sales, drug sample distribution is one of the highest expenses after labor costs. Drug companies spent $6.5 billion on sample distribution in 2010, or 21 percent of all promotional expenses, according to Cegedim Strategic Data. SK&A's survey results offer insight for understanding the physician specialties that have the highest and lowest drug sample acceptance rates and how individual physicians prefer to receive the sample packages at their practice locations.

The average drug sample acceptance rate among physicians is 77 percent, according to SK&A's telephone survey of 168,834 medical offices representing approximately 480,000 physicians in 56 therapeutic specialties. The majority of physicians (68%) prefer samples to be delivered either in-person by a sales representative or mailed by the manufacturer or distributor, while 27 percent prefer only an in-person visit and 5 percent prefer to receive only by mail.

"This latest profiling information from the SK&A Research Center will be highly useful to pharmaceutical marketing, sales and compliance teams who want to identify the most effective distribution channel to engage their targets and ensure readiness for sample tracking and reporting requirements," said Dave Escalante, Vice President & General Manager of SK&A and OneKey. "The survey results have been appended to the OneKey, Powered by SK&A database of U.S. prescribers and can be segmented by practice specialty, geography, office size, ownership and other targeting variables."

Eight of the 56 physician specialties surveyed had acceptance rates of 90 percent or higher. Among the other insights found in the SK&A research study:


  • Allergists/immunologists had the highest sample acceptance rate (96%), followed by ophthalmologists, dermatologists and urologists (92%).
  • Sample acceptance rates decreased as medical practice size increased. For example, practice sizes of 3 to 5 doctors had an acceptance rate of 76 percent while practices with 10 to 19 doctors had an acceptance rate of only 54 percent.
  • Sample acceptance preferences did not vary from the average based on the ownership of the site or its affiliation with hospitals, an indication that health-system ownership does not necessarily influence decisions made by physicians at the site level.
  • The overall sample acceptance rate of 77 percent aligns with the percentage of physicians who agree to see pharmaceutical sales reps, as measured in SK&A's Physician Access study.

The SK&A Research Center will continue to survey medical offices on their drug sample acceptance rates and preferences through 2012, with the next dataset scheduled for release in January 2012. This latest survey is part of SK&A's commitment to enrich the OneKey, Powered by SK&A database with high-value data fields for improved targeting and segmentation. Other new information selections include Physician Email Preferences, Site Adoption of EHR/EMR, Languages Supported at Site, and Physician Access.

Editor's Note: For a copy of the "Drug Sample Acceptance Preferences" report, please contact SK&A Director of Marketing Jack Schember at 800-752-5478 x 1259.

About SK&A, A Cegedim Company: SK&A is a leading provider of healthcare information solutions and research. SK&A, as part of Cegedim's global OneKey® offering, researches and maintains contact and profiling information for over two million healthcare practitioners, including 800,000-plus U.S. prescribers. SK&A also offers the only 100-percent telephone-verified database of email addresses of prescribers and professionals working at active healthcare sites. SK&A's customers include many of America's most recognized healthcare, life sciences and pharmaceutical companies. Please visit for more information or for counts and ordering.
SK&A is part of the France-based Cegedim S.A. Group.

About Cegedim: Founded in 1969, Cegedim is a global technology and services company specializing in the healthcare field. Cegedim supplies services, technological tools, specialized software, data flow management services and databases. Its offerings are targeted notably at healthcare industries, life sciences companies, healthcare professionals and insurance companies. The world leader in life sciences CRM, Cegedim is also one of the leading suppliers of strategic healthcare industry data. Cegedim employs 8,500 people in more than 80 countries and generated revenue of €927 million in 2010. Cegedim SA is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: CGM).
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SK&A, A Cegedim Company
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