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Office Visits — The Doctor Is In
Docs Want More from Rep Calls
Pfizer, Novartis, and GlaxoSmithKline have been identified as three companies whose sales reps are doing the best job of meeting the needs of physicians, but a TNS Healthcare study finds that there is room for improvement across the board. TNS’s survey of 400 physicians –cardiologists, pulmonologists, oncologists, and primary-care physicians –indicates that traditional sales calls from pharmaceutical reps, which had been the backbone of the relationship between doctors and the industry, are no longer enough to meet physicians’ growing needs for information and support. An integrated experience that provides better patient-support services and improved knowledge transfer is now a top priority. This new focus is reflected in four of the top six physician expectations of pharmaceutical salesforces: Better education programs More effective patient- management services Knowledgeable sales reps Professional sales reps UpFront June 2006 PharmaVOICE 42% of doctors believe pharma companies are doing a good job delivering patient management programs 44% of doctors say the industry is providing them with sufficient educational and information services Source: TNS Healthcare, New York An Online Update Secrets to a Successful E-Detail An online survey, by Lathian, reveals some surprising — and not-so-surprising — results, including: Boost appeal with KOL-led videos. Almost 60% of participants prefer e-details with streaming video and audio content, especially those featuring key opinion leaders (KOLs). Indeed, 87% of respondents said they consider KOLs that appear in e-detail videos to be knowledgeable and credible, while 71% said that KOLs add significant value to the e-detail experience. Eliminate navigational roadblocks. Despite improvements since the inception of e-details, more than half of the physicians surveyed described e-details as hard to use. For example, many e-details use red and green, which colorblind participants cannot distinguish. Also there’s a lack of keystroke navigation, which would help those who have trouble using a mouse. Have fun with games. E-details that combine academic integrity with fun are appealing. More than 60% of respondents said they enjoy short, quiz-show style games that let them compete. The physicians also gave high marks to crossword puzzles and memory-style games, in which they have to match the e-detail drug’s features to the benefits they provide to patients. Create the right mix of market research. Respondents, 60%,agreed that only eight questions of an e-detail should seek out market-research information about their practice and online behavior. More than eight questions were considered burdensome or intrusive. Leverage increases in broadband connectivity. Almost 95% of respondents said they have a broadband Internet connection, an enormous jump from just five years ago when only 20% had one. Note: Lathian contacted a diverse group of psychiatrists, oncologists, nephrologists, neurologists, pediatricians, cardiologists, and general practitioners for the survey earlier this year. To qualify, physicians must have participated in at least four e-details in the past year, with one of them occurring within 60 days of the survey. The 20-minute survey contained 30 questions. Source: Lathian Inc. Plymouth Meeting, Pa The conference Circuit ACRP’s Annual Conference About 2,300 individuals gathered in Phoenix in late April to attend the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) annual conference. The five-day event was loaded with diverse educational opportunities and face-to-face interactions with industry experts. Individuals representing a variety of trial disciplines, including physicians, clinical managers, clinical research coordinators, and project managers, and, for the first time, members from the Academy of Pharmaceutical Physicians and Investigators had the opportunity to stop by the more than 170 booths to visit with exhibitors and learn about the latest technologies, services, tools, and processes in this dynamic arena. For stopping by the PharmaVOICE booth and signing up for a complimentary subscription, Sarina Shriner, Clinical Research Coordinator at The Allergy Center at Brookstone, P.C., in Columbus, Ga., was the winner of an iPod Nano. Mark your calendars for next year’s ACRP annual meeting: April 20-24, 2007, in Seattle. To submit a proposal or abstract for next year’s conference, please visit acrp2007.org. Deadline for submissions is June 30, 2006. Around the Beltway FDA Centralizes Drug Safety Policy Function The Food and Drug Administration has appointed Capt. Paul Seligman, M.D., as the first Associate Center Director for Safety Policy and Communication in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). Dr. Seligman is charged with overseeing drug-safety issues and policies and managing the staff who disseminate safety information to healthcare professionals and patients through the FDA’s Website. His appointment underscores the FDA’s efforts to consolidate responsibility for developing center-wide drug-safety policy as well as coordinating efforts in the area of risk communication. He has oversight of the Drug Safety Board staff and the MedWatch program; he also plays a role in implementing recommendations from external organizations, such as the Institute of Medicine and the Government Accountability Office. Dr. Seligman joined the FDA in 2001 as the Director of the CDER Office of Pharmacoepidemiology and Statistical Science. A captain in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service, Dr. Seligman is board certified in internal medicine, public health, general preventive medicine, and occupational medicine. Source: Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, Md Blogging The Healthcare Blogosphere Although the first blog was created in 1994, it wasn’t until about 2002 that people began to blog about healthcare. According to a new report from Envision Solutions LLC, The Emerging Healthcare Blogosphere: What Is It & Why Does It Matter?, as blogging becomes increasingly popular, the number of healthcare bloggers has increased and is starting to have an impact. The three primary types of healthcare blogs are: patient blogs, which patients create to share their experiences and knowledge with others; healthcare provider blogs, which healthcare providers create to share experiences, provide information, and improve treatment practices; and healthcare expert blogs, which healthcare experts create to market themselves, to educate, and to draw attention to issues and spark debate. Key Ways Blogs May Impact Healthcare Communications Blogs may help healthcare communicators: Better understand how people perceive healthcare products, services, and issues Provide new channels to communicate about healthcare products and services Improve health promotion efforts by helping people learn new ways to prevent illness and overcome barriers to better health Key Ways Blogs May Impact Healthcare Treatment Practices Blogs may improve the: Adoption of best practices Critique and analysis of clinical trials and medical articles Exchange of information about new or difficult-to-treat illnesses Communications with patients Source: Envision Solutions LLC, New York Public opinion Reputation of the Industry Not Great, But Improving Since 1997 Harris Interactive has been asking: do you think each industry is generally doing a good or a bad job of serving its consumers? And the answers for the overall ratings of pharmaceutical companies, managed-care companies, and health-insurance companies have been among the most volatile. The ratings of the pharmaceutical industry have been the most mercurial of any industry. In 1997, the pharmaceutical industry had a net positive rating of 60%. This fell fast over the years until it touched rock bottom at -4% in 2004. Last year, however, the rating jumped to 13%, and this year it is up sharply again at 25%. (The tobacco industry rates at 34% and the oil industry at 34%.) The public seemed to be more hostile to drug companies, managed-care companies, and health- insurance companies with each succeeding year. But that changed in 2005, when public attitudes improved from what had been their abysmally poor ratings in 2004. Nevertheless, in spite of the improvement in their reputations, the pharmaceutical industry, the managed-care industry, and the health-insurance industry are still among the most unpopular of the 21 industries on Harris Interactive’s list. Source: Harris Interactive, Rochester, NY Pumping up the Pipelines Big Jump for Drugs in Clinical Trials The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development reports a 52% increase in the number of drugs put into clinical testing during the three years ending in 2005. According to the Center, the increase is largely the result of new technologies that enable scientists to better evaluate a drug’s potential for success. Also, according to the study, the share of licensed compounds in the development portfolios of leading firms increased to one in four in the time period from 2003 to 2005 from about one in seven from 1993 to 1997. Source: Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, Boston