You can add UK doctors to the list of people with a jaundiced view of the pharmaceutical industry.
A new survey finds that 43 percent of general practitioners have a negative feeling about drug makers and believe the industry agenda is too focused on sales and marketing, according to Binley’s, a health care analysis firm that canvassed 551 physicians in England.
What’s more, 23 percent of the docs believe that drug makers do not understand how they go about their work or appreciate their needs and challenges. And 17 percent feel there is a lack of understanding among drug makers about the budgetary pressures that shape prescribing decisions.
“Cynicism about the industry abounds,” said Sarah Eglington, who heads health care intelligence at Binley’s, in a statement. And she noted that conducting face-to-face interactions “continues to be a big challenge” for sales reps hoping to meet with physicians.
Of course, this is a relatively small sample, but the survey may provide a useful window into an issue of ongoing concern – the extent to which industry outreach influences prescribing and medical practice. The topic has been quite contentious in the United States, where an increasing number of physicians, hospitals, and academic centers are banning sales reps or limiting their interactions with medical staff.
Interestingly, the perceptions registered in the Binley’s survey may be influenced by whether physicians meet with sales reps on a regular basis. The survey found that negative opinions of the pharmaceutical industry were held by 56 percent of doctors who do not see reps. But only 32 percent of physicians who do meet with reps held such negative views.
Overall, nearly two-thirds of the physicians do not interact with sales reps, with 63 percent saying they lack the time, and 19 percent citing practice policies that do not allow reps to visit during working hours.
We asked the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, the trade group, for comment, but none has been forthcoming. We will pass along any reply that we may receive.
The survey, by the way, also asked the physicians how the pharmaceutical industry could be more helpful. Binley’s reported that 18 percent pointed to industry funding of physician education, while 12 percent said they want drug makers to reduce prices on medicines. Twelve percent also want pharma to help patients to self-manage conditions, such as offering advice about lifestyle changes, over-the-counter remedies or suggesting support groups.Print This Post