Pharma Companies Lay Off Sales Reps and Use More Digital Tools to Market to Office-Based Physicians

Clinical laboratories and pathology groups may benefit from the attractive economics of digital marketing

For more than two decades, pharmaceutical sales representatives have been ubiquitous in doctors’ offices. But in a surprise development, many of the nation’s largest pharma companies are dramatically downsizing their sales forces and opting to promote their products through digital media.

This is an important new trend which has consequences for those clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups which send their own medical laboratory sales reps into doctors’ offices. It is evidence that the economics of sending sales reps into offices to educate and persuade physicians to prescribe new drugs for patients may be less favorable when compared to the economics of reaching physicians via the growing number of new digital sales and marketing channels.

In a recent story published by The Wall Street Journal, it was noted that pharmaceutical companies, as they reduce the number of sales reps who make calls on office-based physicians, increasingly make greater use of digital sales and marketing programs that include the Internet, smart phones, tablet technology and even iTunes.