A new survey of physician access preferences found that nearly half of physicians require or prefer appointments by pharmaceutical sales reps to be scheduled. This percentage appears to significantly increase when practices are owned by hospitals or health systems.

Further data showed that about 23% of doctors refuse sales calls entirely.

This week, SK&A, a Cegedim Company which provides healthcare information solutions and research, announced these results from their extensive ongoing survey based on 237,000 telephone interviews with medical sites—representing 680,000 physicians.  The Physician Access survey helps depict the willingness of doctors to interact with sales representatives.

Which Physicians Give Pharma Greatest Access?

Juggling sales-rep calls among their patient appointments consumes a significant portion of the physician workweek.  Ninety-eight percent of doctors report being visited by 20 industry reps per week.  Other trends established by the Physician Access survey include:

  • The most accessible physicians are allergists/immunologists, orthopedic specialists, and diabetes specialists.
  • The least accessible physicians are diagnostic radiologists, pathologists, and neuroradiologists.
  • Sites with low patient volume are less likely to see sales reps.
  • The greater the office size (number of doctors) the less likely sales reps will be seen.
  • Health system- and hospital-owned offices are less likely to grant sales rep access.
  • Western regions of the United States had the highest no-access rate, compared to southern regions, which had the lowest no-access rate.

Despite the willingness of doctors to interact with sales representatives, a recent survey by Pri-Med found that clinicians with low rates of physician access still value the information industry provides—and this information still plays a significant role in patient care, even among low- or no-access physicians.

Of more than 1,110 physicians analyzed in the Pri-Med survey, 71% of clinicians who place the highest restrictions on their industry interactions in and out of the office interacted with an industry representative in Pri-Med Product Forums at Pri-Med Access events.  Findings from the survey also found that of those clinicians, 40% will incorporate information presented to them by industry as a result of attending a theater presentation into their decisions.

Although the number of physicians open to pharmaceutical sales calls is shrinking, this new survey suggests that some venues may be more hospitable to industry than others.