Retooling The Sales Force Remains A Work In Progress
Pharmaceutical sales reps may not relish the thought, but they could play leading roles in a Hollywood epic called 'The Incredible Shrinking Sales Force.' Between 2005 and the third quarter of 2009, the number of reps industry wide in the U.S. fell from 101,818 to 81,780, a 19.7 percent decline, according to SDI Health
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After several years of experimentation, big pharma has settled on new commercial models for their U.S. sales teams and are in various stages of implementation, according to ZS Associates Managing Director Chris Wright. The preferred models have commonalities built around a mix of traditional sales reps, key account managers and multi-channel digital tools.
The pharmaceutical industry continues to invest heavily in promotional activities even as many drugs go off patent and new drug launches become less frequent.
Pharma's spending on product promotional activities in the United States has remained level over the past five years, even as companies continue with ambitious cost-cutting programs that have cut sales forces by more than 25%, according to the market research firm SDI.