The pharaceutical industry

Essay by carlorossi November 2004

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Like most industries, the pharmaceutical sales environment has changed dramatically over the past 10-15 years as a result of advances in information processing technologies. One of the key business initiatives of all pharmaceutical firms is to deploy field-based representatives, often called detail reps, whose responsibility is to interface with physicians to educate them on the merits of their drug, leave behind marketing tools (from prescription pads to calendars to wall charts) that serve to remind the doctor and perhaps influence the patient, and to arrange for samples to be left with the physicians office. The objective of the detail rep is to influence the doctor to write more prescriptions for the company's products than their competitors. The pharmaceutical company tracks sales performance ratios of call activity vs. sales, sample distribution vs. sales as well as other factors.

Over time, the pharmaceutical companies have become more sophisticated in directing the deployment of these sales forces, which in some organizations number in the thousands.

Most pharmaceutical sales groups have dedicated analysts that access and manage many layers of data to help sales management align territories, set compensation plans and establish call activity strategies.

For example, third-party data sources provide significant information that helps determine which drugs each doctor prescribes. The company collects and aggregates data helping to profile each physician ranging from area of expertise, volumes of prescriptions written, and relative loyalty to the pharmaceutical companies and their products. Other factors like physician locations and sales rep locations go into the analysis process. In some cases, demographic information helps to anticipate where revenue opportunities exist. These analysis experts use internal and external resources to synthesize information to help sales management make decisions and execute strategies effectively. They work with I.T. departments to select and utilize business intelligence tools, deploy customer relationship management...