New Study Uncovers Problems in MD-Sales Rep Relationship -- and What can be Done About it

Accel Polls MDs, Releases Report with Critical Recommendations such as Increased Research, Training and Balance

New York, New York, UNITED STATES

NEW YORK, May 15, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Accel Healthcare Communications LLC, a top 20 healthcare advertising and medical communications firm based in New York City, has conducted a quantitative online survey of physicians and compiled its findings and recommendations in a document entitled The Accel Report: Through Our Customers' Eyes. The full report is available on the Accel web site at

The vast majority of physicians perceive today's sales reps to be younger, less experienced, more aggressive, less collegial, and more focused on sales as opposed to science. Reps are perceived as mostly interested in "pitching" their products and dropping off samples to promote physician use, while physicians are really looking for timely information they can trust and find credible.

Accel's findings include the fact that sixty-three percent (63%) of MDs would rarely meet with pharmaceutical sales representatives if they stopped distributing samples during their visits, and that nearly 70% of MDs perceive information provided by sales representatives to be "very unbalanced." The report confirms that the field force build-up of the last few years has added significant stress to the dynamic of the physician-sales representative relationship.

Charlene Prounis, President of Advertising at Accel and author of the report, states that, "The physicians have spoken, and they want unbiased and balanced information. Their overwhelming perception is that reps see their sole mission as selling their products, usually by presenting a selectively positive profile of their drugs." Prounis states, "The Accel Report's findings, coupled with the strategic recommendations we offer on improving relations between physicians and sales reps, make a positive and timely contribution to this ongoing debate."

Specific Report Findings

 The Accel Report also determined that:
 -- Half of all reps are turned away from the physicians office on any
    given visit,
 -- Physicians are limiting the time they spend with sales reps to
    less than one hour a week,
 -- More than 95% of physicians believe it's important for reps to
    provide information they can trust, yet only 6% of physicians
    believe the information they are getting is truly balanced, and
 -- More than 90% of physicians feel that the majority of reps are not
    providing new information.

Remarks from the survey participants crystallize their current perceptions of sales representatives. They include:

 -- "There are not as many career or seasoned reps as before; many are
    now young kids who are marketers-not pharmacists, researchers,
    nurses, or dieticians like I used to see."
 -- "We see more "pressure sales tactics," more competitive, younger,
    and less experienced reps -- and frequent turnover."
 -- "Reps are becoming "walking sample delivery devices."

Respondents made clear that the value of sales reps could be increased through:

 -- "Better scientific information"
 -- "Cost-effectiveness analyses" and
 -- "More on-demand learning opportunities"

Accel Recommendations

Accel concludes that to improve the MD-Sales Rep relationship, drug companies should document, via third parties, the fairness of their materials or weave differing points of view into the sales call through print or electronic media. The pharmaceutical company that can "own" this approach in the mind of MDs can differentiate itself and meet a strong need of their customers -- all while boosting their chances of increased market share.

Accel also recommends that the value of the rep must be enhanced beyond samples. Higher levels of medical knowledge would go a long way towards satisfying physicians. In addition, conducting preference-based marketing surveys to assess their desired medium and deploying resources accordingly would enable companies to give MDs what they want. The Accel Report also makes recommendations on how to use the Internet to improve the effectiveness of pharmaceutical sales and marketing efforts.

The Accel report is based on a statistically representative sample of 150 high volume (100-200 patients a week) primary care physicians from across the United States who gave 125 analyzable responses each.

About Accel

Accel is part of the Omnicom family of companies. Based in Manhattan, Accel consists of a group of highly accomplished marketers who have launched and nurtured blockbuster pharmaceutical brands for over 20 years. Accel's talents have also been recognized by the industry, winning numerous awards, such as the Agency on the Rise 2001, Medical Advertising News and PharmaVoice's Best Agency Ad award. Accel's advertising clients include Andrx, Berlex, Celltech, Endeavor, Forest, Genentech, Millinneum, Orphan Medical and Schering.

For additional information on The Accel Report or Accel Healthcare Communications Inc. please contact Charlene Prounis at 646.602.6904 or or or Peter Schwartz at 646-418-6092 or


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