Drug Rep Time

How to succeed in Pharmaceutical Sales.

Pharma discounts in 2009 may be just a recipe to go broke.

A strong trend in the pharmaceutical industry in 2009 is the switch from talking about products to talking about their price.  Discount coupons have been around for a while, so have messages about insurance coverage, tiers, and so on. Now the price became the dominant  topic and the main point of interaction between drug reps and physician. It is all about “who’s cheaper”. Will it help your  sales? In the short term it will. But only in the very short term. Here are my reasons:

1. If everyone does the same ( and they do ), soon enough everything blends in and the news stops being the news. Tell me who possibly can distinguish between products if the main promoted difference is the type of coupon used or the tier level on Caremark or Medco. What is your USP, people?

2. Once the educational marketing is abandoned it is very uneasy to go back to it. Human complacency leads to choosing easier ways, and, of course, any drug rep would prefer to talk about the price or coverage over discussing  science with doctors. In essence, the pharma companies  decondition their reps and  thus deplete the relationship with doctors by switching from education or educational marketing to pure sales on price. Teach, don’t sell!

3. Here is how Pharma contributes to Walmart success. First Pharma reps condition  doctors and then doctors condition their patients  to think about price before anything else. Forget about the best, just get the cheapest, America!  However, dear Pharma marketers, at the end of the day your coupon expires, but don’t  hold high hopes that most folks will stick to your product. After you successfully primed them for cheapness they will ask for a new coupon or for a new discount de jour, or go to Walmart that will beat you all anyway. Be with the trend, but don’t be naive!


March 15, 2009 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | , , , | Leave a comment