The number of pharmaceutical sales representatives has increased sharply in recent years. According to data from Scott-Levin/Verispan, the number of reps increased 77% between 1996 and 2000. Other sources contend that the number of pharma sales reps has doubled within the past eight years, while the number of doctors has increased by only about 15 percent.
Perhaps the industry's traditional sales force has reached - and possibly exceeded - the saturation point. More than 90,000 representatives compete for the attention of 650,000 practicing physicians, only 125,000 of whom are top-tier prescribers. Some people, maybe physicians most of all, hope that online detailing ("eDetailing") will reduce the number of office visits from all these pharmaceutical sales representatives chasing after the same docs.
This article reviews a presentation on this provocative topic made by David Hauben, Director of eBusiness at Aventis Pharmaceuticals at the Center for Business Intelligence's 2nd Annual eDetailing Conference, held September 18-19 in Princeton, New Jersey.
DATA: The article includes data from Verispan's "ePromotion Audit" showing the number of physician ePromotion activities conducted by the industry per quarter between November 2002 and August 2003. Data are broken out per type of activity -- virtual details, video details, online events, etc.