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Drug Rep Algorithms Available To Assist in Directing Sales Efforts – “Behavioral Pharma Marketing”

Posted May 06 2010 9:18am

Everybody is using algorithmic formulas today to help them do their job better with less wasted efforts and drug reps can benefit too from the same formulas of evaluation.  Let’s face it today in any industry, being in sales is getting to be tough job as everyone wants to absolutely define the direction for the ultimate positive response of getting a positive answer and sales of course.  One thing that can’t be replaced here is the personal relationship that we all value in sales and I spent enough years in sales to know this is a fact. 

I had a physician make a comment recently too that if all is equal, in other words what he felt was the the drug treatment, the cost, and add in the knowledge of the representative too, the one who brings donuts wins, in other words the relationship as donuts are not going to break a sale simply on the fact that people like to eat.

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With this powerful information in hand now, drug reps can avoid those physicians who have a reputation or statistical representation of “being unavailable”.  If Dr. Brown doesn’t see reps then mosey on over to Dr. Smith for effective in face selling time:)  In time I can guess that sales managers will be seeing the call reports and will be equipped with their algorithms to evaluate those sales reps who are constantly trying to see those who are not really available and discussing alternative methods of contact such as email.  When your time in sales is also being algorithmically calculated on where the company is getting the best bang for the buck, well here comes those algorithms once more.  image

According to the press release, strategies in sales save money, just like everything else out there today so here come the numbers.  In 2008 Merck started using “contracted” sales people and there may be others who do the same, so you could in fact have one representative for more than one drug company and you can bet the folks will be trained and given tools such as the offering mentioned in the press release.

Where does this information come from?  It’s the old standing pharmacy benefit management information that is collected by drug stores and pharmacy benefit managers and there’s a ton load of money made off of selling your prescription medication records.  Drug reps needs to know where to focus and this information has been around a long time.  As a provider there you can opt out of being included.  Many are starting to do this.  In the meantime, as patients your medication records do not fall under HIPAA and there’s a ton of money made here by companies who provide this like Milliman and Ingenix (a division of United Healthcare).  Those are the 2 big ones but I’m sure there’s a few more business intelligence services who provide the same or similar offerings. 

These 2 companies make a ton of money from selling and marketing our medication information.  They sell it back to underwriters.  You can click on the images to find out more.  Again, after reading this post about the lawsuit and the diligent effort being used for the number of years it covers, the company must figure the information is going to be goldmine to riches, like the selling of our medication files goes.  

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This has become a hot issue with Congress too as this information does not fall under HIPAA and HHS would like a little more control and say so here too.  It is a bit confusing as they are trying to regulate the “marketing” but it appears the sale of medication information on patients is not being thoroughly addressed.

Anyway, just something to give some thought too as a provider and you can make your own opinion here.  By opting out these days there’s a bit less patient information to go around and market us, but on the other hand if you want the pharma industry to target you better with other means of spending quality time with you then maybe you might want to stay in.  Either way though, the data gets sold for profit and is part of the problem with the high cost of healthcare today even if Pharma access is not given as the health insurance companies use it for calculating premiums and underwriting costs.  United, with their subsidiary of Ingenix is making money from both sides here with data analysis and selling policies. 

We already have “behavioral underwriting” being pursued with health insurance so is this maybe a move for “behavioral drug sales” coming to play?

Once more I’ll end this again and say “it’s all about those algos” with business intelligence software analysis in every corner of healthcare.  BD  

EVANSTON, Ill., May 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Obtaining access to busy physicians grew still more difficult for pharmaceutical representatives in 2009, as the number of physicians willing to see most reps fell nearly 20 percent, the number of prescribers refusing to see most reps increased by half and the number of management-planned sales calls that were nearly impossible to complete topped 8 million.

These are among the findings of the latest AccessMonitor™, a report from global consulting firm ZS Associates that examines how often physicians and other prescribers will meet with sales representatives from pharmaceutical manufacturers.

According to the spring 2010 report of AccessMonitor™, only slightly more than half (58 percent) of prescribers in 2009 were "rep-accessible;" that is, they met with at least 70 percent of the sales representatives who called on them.  This is down 18 percent from the spring 2009 study that showed 71 percent of physicians met with at least 70 percent of pharmaceutical representatives.  At the same time, the number of "rep-inaccessible" prescribers — those who saw fewer than 30 percent of the reps who called on them — increased to 9 percent from 6 percent.  The report classified 33 percent of physicians as "rep-neutral;" they'll see 31 percent to 69 percent of the pharmaceutical salesmen who call on them.

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