HealthDay News — Pharmaceutical sales representatives’ access to physicians is continuing to decrease, even in previously rep-friendly specialties, according to a report published by ZS Associates, a New York-based sales and marketing consulting firm.

Researchers from ZS Associates aggregated sales-call summaries from more than 200 U.S. pharmaceutical sales teams. They examined how often approximately 325,000 physicians and other prescribers met with pharmaceutical sales reps.

According to the report, there has been steady decline in overall access to physicians, with 49% of physicians placing moderate-to-severe restrictions on visits from sales reps (compared with 45% in 2013, 35% in 2012, and 23% in 2008).

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Previously rep-friendly specialties such as dermatology, gastroenterology, and pediatrics also reported a decline, with 67% of dermatologists and 47% of gastroenterologists accessible in 2014, compared with 84 and 63%, respectively, in 2013. The gradual decline in access to physicians has been seen in many geographic areas, especially in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Seattle. Some markets, such as Texas, remained more access-friendly.

“It’s not that these doctors object to receiving information from pharmaceutical companies,” Pratap Khedkar, principal and leader of the pharmaceuticals practice at ZS Associates, said in a statement. “The trend is moving toward a mix of face-to-face communication with a handful of digital communication channels orchestrated by the rep.”