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Pharma Companies Integrate Customer Service Portals for Physicians into the Marketing Mix

NEW YORK, May 27, 2008 - A day in the life of a pharmaceutical sales rep isn't what it used to be. In today's world, there are more reps, and fewer physicians willing to see them - and as a result, pharmaceutical companies are now faced with the task of re-inventing the service model that has been in place for decades.

While the old model put a premium on the amount of time a rep was able to spend with a physician, the reality today is that companies -- and reps -- may derive equal value from encouraging certain physicians to visit a website for additional information, rather than trying to rush through that information during a 90-second in-person detail. As a result, companies are beginning to employ surround sound CRM strategies that integrate Web-based content and customer service with the other channels of communication, like the rep, into an integrated suite of online content and services.

In response to these trends, many pharmaceutical companies are building full-service portals for physicians, which allow physicians to conduct activities such as accessing journal reprints, ordering samples, downloading patient education information, and even live online videoconferencing with a rep. Examples of these platforms include sites such as and

"Physicians are not saying that they want to do away with the sales force entirely," says Meredith Abreu Ressi, VP of research at Manhattan Research. "Most physicians still want to be able to talk to a rep when they have a question, or when there's a new product launch - but if it's a routine question or transaction, they'd prefer to conduct those activities online, when it's convenient for them. This is really about providing physicians with a variety of channels to access information so they can choose the method that is most convenient and useful to them."

Although most physicians are not completely removing the sales force from their overall channel mix, the majority do prefer to conduct some activities online.

"This is not unlike the evolution we've seen take place across most industries today," says Ressi. "If you think about your relationship with most companies -- be it an airline, a bank, or a retail store -- the norm has evolved such that the customer can choose how he or she prefers to interact with a company, whether than means in-person contact, email, online, or over the phone. This is really just about providing physicians with a variety of channels to access information - so they can choose the method that is most convenient and useful to them."

Ressi will be discussing this and other trends during a June 5 physician digital marketing & sales trends webcast on June 5 --

For more information about this topic, or the other physician trends and insights researched in Taking the Pulse(r) v8.0, please contact Maureen Malloy at> .

About Taking the Pulse(r) v8.0

Taking the Pulse(r) v8.0 was conducted via telephone and online survey methodology in Q1 2008 with a nationally representative sample of 1,832 practicing U.S. physicians.

In addition to providing physician market trends, clients can further segment Taking the Pulse(r) v8.0 to derive statistically relevant insight across the following specialties: Allergists, Cardiologists, Dermatologists, Electro Physiologists, Emergency Medicine, Endocrinologists, Gastroenterologists, Surgeons, Hematology Oncologists, Infectious Disease Specialists, Medical Oncologists, Nephrologists, Neurologists, Obstetrics/Gynecologists (OB/GYNs), Ophthalmologists, Orthopedic Surgeons, Pediatricians, Primary Care Physicians (General Practice, Family Practice and Internal Medicine), Psychiatrists, Pulmonologists, Radiologists, Rheumatologists and Urologists.

Other Manhattan Research Products and Services

Manhattan Research conducts annual research studies among physicians and consumers, including Taking the Pulse(r) Europe, Cybercitizen(r) Health, Cybercitizen(r) Health Europe, ePharma Consumer(r) and ePharma Physician(r). Each study serves a unique purpose and focuses on different aspects of information technology adoption. Broad consumer and physician research is complemented by targeted analysis among more than 80 consumer therapeutic segments and 25 physician specialist segments.

Manhattan Research is a leading market research and advisory firm for pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. For more information or to schedule an analyst interview, please contact

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Maureen Malloy


Posted: May 2008