Are Pharmaceutical Sales Reps Really Needed?

by Joshua Daly - Date: 2007-01-24 - Word Count: 338 Share This!

Aside from a few free samples, some cheap pens and calendars, or maybe a sweet magnet to put on your fridge, is there truly a need for pharmaceutical sales reps? The pharmaceutical industry currently employs over 100,000 drug sales reps. Despite the currently inflated number of drug sales reps, some of the major pharmaceutical companies may be moving in a new direction.

Pfizer, who began the pharmaceutical sales rep drug race many years ago has decided to retool their company in order to save money. Pfizer has announced that it will be cutting back its pharmaceutical sales force worldwide by 10%, which translates into over 10,000 reps getting the axe.

Apparently drug reps aren't too confident in what they are bringing to the table. A post on the website CafePharma was brought to my attention by John Mack of the Pharma Marketing Blog.

Reps are first to cut because (1) there are too many of them, (2) they get paid too much, (3) they are less and less effective. That's not me saying these things, that's the reps themselves saying this:

"Hey chief, I've been in this game for 10 years, and guess what:

1.) We don't provide value anymore.

2.) Without the sales and marketing arms, drug prices would go down.

3.) Charity and patient assistance would be the same.

4.) The docs could sure as shit get their samples directly from the company.

5.) The public, congress, and consumer advocacy groups would stop hating us because the most visible part of the industry, i.e., you and your little rolly bag, would not be front and center to the 65 year old man with diabetes in the waiting room.

I think that pharmaceutical sales reps may be seeing the end of the road soon. Pfizer's layoffs are in effect telling the other drug manufactures that the arms race is off. Since they are the company that usually sets the tone in the industry, it would not be a surprise to see the other pharmaceutical companies follow suite.

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Joshua Daly is the author of many health related articles as well as the President of Joshua's goal is to help consumers save money and make better informed decisions. For more related articles on health and the pharmaceutical industry, visit our blog: Insider Guide to Online Prescriptions.

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