The pharmaceutical industry has steadily increased the number of sales reps calling on doctors for years, as their data has shown them that the value generated by each additional rep is higher than the cost of fielding them. But first Pfizer, and now Wyeth, have announced plans to reduce their sales forces. See Wyeth to Revamp, Cut Its Sales Force in the Wall Street Journal.
Why is this happening now?
- Mirrored sales teams –the practice of sending multiple sales reps to the same doctor to talk about the same drug– are causing a backlash from doctors and also making it hard to measure the effectiveness of individual sales people
- There is little new to talk about –because of fewer product launches and in the case of Wyeth the curtailment of uses for its hormone replacement therapy. (Could it be that the more a doctor knows about hormone replacement therapy the less they will prescribe?)
- The availability of efficient, effective outsourced sales forces available from Ventiv, Innovex and PDI have enabled pharma companies to reduce fixed costs
“What I think we left behind as an industry is understanding whether physicians got the same value per visit as we did,” said Joseph Mahady, president of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.June 20, 2005