We all know what drug reps want from their physician customers. We want them to use and prescribe more of our company’s drugs. But what do physicians want from drug reps? This has always been an interesting question. Since I’ve called on many physicians over my fourteen years in pharmaceutical sales, I believe that I can answer this. The points below should be clearly understood by all drug representatives who want to be successful.
Many physicians want a constant supply of the free drug samples drug reps distribute. Physicians like to give out drug samples to patients to start them out on medical treatments. If results are positive, patients will continue these treatments in the form of prescriptions from the doctors. This is why drug companies make drug samples available for free to the physicians. Even in the case of over the counter medications. It is thought that if a patient tries out a certain drug sample that is over the counter such as a cough medicine, this patient will probably buy the same medication at the pharmacy once the sample runs out.
Even some doctors who do not see drug reps like to have drug samples. They will sometimes have their staff call up drug reps to drop off some drug samples at their offices. Of course, the drug reps will usually comply since if the no-see doctor is using a particular drug sample, there’s a good chance that he or she is also prescribing that drug. Keeping this doctor supplied with samples will hopefully encourage further prescriptions.
Some doctors also like the medical information materials for patients in the form of pamphlets, booklets, desk models and wall posters that drug companies produce. Much like drug samples, these materials are distributed for free by the drug reps. Physicians like to use these information materials to help educate and counsel their patients.
There will also be a select group of physicians, usually specialist doctors working in medical teaching centers, which seem to always want financial sponsorships from drug companies either for medical educational events such as symposiums, hospital rounds or speaking engagements. Financial support is also routinely requested for resident physicians in training. I’ve been hit on many times by physicians who request funding and/or catered meals for their staff. They know that it is difficult for drug reps to say no especially if they are big users of the drug reps’ products.
Lastly, one physician stated to me quite clearly what doctors want when I was a drug rep. He said that the main thing physicians want from drug reps is useful information that they could use in their practices without taking too much of their time during sales calls. If drug representatives can accomplish this objective alone, the support of their doctor customers will be greatly enhanced.
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