What A Drug Rep Should Do When A Doctor Says No

#pharmaceutical #pharmaceuticalsales —  The last post introduced a common case where many drug reps promoting the SR/LA (long acting drugs) products will often get resistance from doctors as they say no to these often newer drugs.  They want to stick with the older and usually less expensive drugs.  If you are interested in drug rep jobs or medical sales careers, you should get familiar with this type of case since most pharmaceutical companies out there in the industry will be facing similar circumstances with their newer product lines.  So what should a drug rep do in these cases?

Fortunately, I’ve had much experience with this particular scenario in my various drug rep jobs over the years.  What drug reps have to do in these cases is to probe deeper for any dissatisfaction that doctors may have with the older drugs. Reps will have to ask something like, “Doctor, are there any patients that have compliance issues with three to four times per day dosing?”

Clinically, it is widely recognized that as dosing requirements increase, compliance levels will drop. Doctors will admit that there are some patients who either forget to take their pills or they are usually caught in activities making it inconvenient to take them (one example is outdoor work). When doses of drugs are missed, levels in the bloodstream will drop below what’s required for effective treatment.

Many patients will actually discontinue their treatments because of the inconvenience of multi-dosing. This is especially true with children who have to be reminded or interrupted in class during school hours to take their medications. In children, treatment failure rates with drugs requiring three to four doses per day often surpass 50%.

Needless to say, it can be very frustrating for physicians when patients do not take their medications properly or discontinue them altogether. Once doctors acknowledge the existence of these problem patients, the drug reps can offer the newer drugs as better solutions. That’s what good sales people do during their medical sales careers – provide solutions.

Once per day dosing results in much better compliance levels and therefore higher treatment successes. Even with kids, a single dose taken once in the morning before going to school is all that’s needed for the entire day. This is much easier than multi-dosing!

Smart drug reps convey the point that although the older versions of drugs are less expensive, they are useless if treatment failures are high due to non-compliance. Doctors will usually agree and start using more SR/LA forms to avoid these kinds of treatment failures. When physicians switch to using the newer long acting medications, it becomes a win-win situation for all.

We’ll get more into the lesson behind this case in the next pharmaceutical sales blog post here.  Take note that if you bring up such as case as a discussion point during your interview for drug rep jobs, the interviewer would be delighted since it shows that you have some appreciation of what really goes on in the industry.

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