Doctors Want Better Info From Pharma Reps

Doctors Want Better Info From Pharma Reps

Pharma reps are failing to keep up with the digital age, according to analysis from a leading medical research firm.

A new study just released by DRG Digital’s Manhattan Research indicates that pharma reps are showing doctors news that they’ve already seen. Poll respondents say that in more than half of the time (51%) the reps are showing them information that they’ve seen in their own research or in previous meetings.

Doctors are more up-to-date when it comes to digital access according to the poll of 1,814 U.S. practicing physicians across 25 specialties. According to the study, “74% of physicians use search engines weekly or more, and 52% use pharma digital resources regularly, with product-related info being the most accessed website resource.”

The criticism of “stale” information is even more pronounced in certain specialties – 68% of oncologists and 62% of dermatologists responded that reps are showing them information they’ve already seen.

Pharma reps are also falling behind in their use of up-to-date devices. For example, despite the fact that using a tablet is shown improve information recall and strengthen post-meeting digital engagement, the study found usage is actually dropping. Compared to almost one-quarter of reps using a tablet in 2013, the intervening four years has seen that uptake fall to a little over two-thirds of reps taking advantage of such technology.

Despite the criticism of pharma presentations, doctors responded that they’re still meeting with pharma reps and eager to continue doing so. According to the study, “64%  reported meeting with sales reps face-to-face over the past six months, and 60% of physicians say they want to meet with reps in-person in the future.”

That presents a great opportunity as well as a challenge for the pharmaceutical industry. There’s a willing audience, seeking better information. More than 60% of doctors say that the meetings are most valuable when materials that are not directly promotional are used.

It remains to be seen whether pharma reps will move to close this gap, or continue to fail the patients and medical professionals they’re supposed to serve.

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