E-learning program aims to enhance credibility of drug sales reps

Pharmaceutical CommercePharmaceutical Commerce - May 2009

Meanwhile, new report counts low- and medium-access physicians

To help drug sales reps enhance their credibility with the medical community, CMR Institute (Roanoke, VA) has launched an e-learning educational program covering such topics as anatomy, pharmacology, disease state management, evidence-based medicine, and outcomes management. The institute considers these topics “key knowledge areas valued by physicians,” according to an announcement. Some 35 condensed modules are available, each intended to take 30 to 45 minutes to complete.

Beleaguered drug sales reps need all the help they can get these days. Sales activity plans at many companies continue to call for visits to doctors who either rarely or never see representatives, according to the Spring 2009 edition of the AccessMonitor report from global consulting firm ZS Associates (Evanston, IL). Thirteen percent of all pharmaceutical sales calls in the United States cannot be completed because physicians limit the number of times they see even the best pharmaceutical representatives.

The report classifies 23% of doctors as “medium access,” meaning they will see reps but are still difficult to reach: approximately half of the reps who visit these doctors fail to get in the door. About 6% of physicians in the country fell into the “low access” category, which means they will not see representatives from any company. The report also shows particularly high restrictions in Boston, Minneapolis, and parts of Wisconsin and the Northwest (including Seattle and Portland). In these areas, more than 20% of doctors are difficult to see.

“The pharmaceutical industry is facing multiple challenges, from increasingly restricted physician access to public questioning of the value of the representative role,” says Cherie Hicks, CMR Institute’s president and CEO, in an announcement. “Independent verification of competency is a first step in answering the criticism leveled by those calling for greater transparency in marketing practices.”

The e-learning curriculum is called 4C, for the core competencies, capabilities, and credibility required to be an effective, highly regarded representative. Upon successful completion of the program, representatives earn a medical representative certificate of professional competency.

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