What is the influence of pharmaceutical representatives on medical prescriptions?

prescription_forwebVisits by pharmaceutical laboratory representatives to doctors' offices is a routine practice and an important dissemination front for both parties. While healthcare professionals gain in information, free samples, and other benefits that are consistent with the environment, marketers play the pivotal role of engaging in relationship marketing for these big chemical corporations. But what is the real impact that reps 'visits have on doctors' prescriptive behavior? To what extent do they actually prescribe a drug according to the laboratory agent approach?

a study conducted by the Faculty of Technology and Applied Social Sciences of the University Center of Brasilia listed a number of possible factors that guide doctors' preference for certain medications and which are the practices of the representative approach that most influence this choice. Most physicians heard (83%) receive up to 30 agents from pharmaceutical laboratories per month. After all, they are considered opinion leaders in the segment and bring good quality information to 46% of doctors. Another 46% agreed that the representative is the main means of updating on new drugs and research in the sector.

As for the traditional gift giving by representatives and the frequent continuity of contact - which in many cases can become a friendship - the majority of doctors (87%) disagreed that this proximity does not influence the prescription of medications. Another 60% reported that the gifts are indifferent in choosing a particular laboratory.

The effectiveness of the drug is pointed as the main reason for prescription for 40% of doctors ears. The reliability of the laboratory guides the choice of 33% of professionals. Another 27% said the price of the drug is decisive at the time of patient orientation.

According to the research, gifts, congress invitations, and other material or personal benefits do not exert a significant influence on physicians' prescriptive behavior. This runs counter to one of the core objectives of industry relationship marketing, which focuses on the widespread use and profitability of laboratories. Why, then, does the pharmaceutical industry continue to invest in this practice?

Adriana Lourenço da Silva, who signs the study's authorship, points to the hypothesis that the influence occurs, however, indirectly, probably unconsciously. “Believing in the good faith and sincerity of doctors, it can be inferred that the brand is somehow remembered at the time of prescription. Therefore, some degree of influence ends up being exercised ”, he ponders.


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