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Doctors.net.uk survey finds many GPs favour digital channels for independent product information

Time pressures making it more difficult for them to see pharmaceutical reps face-to-face

Research from Doctors.net.uk – the UK's largest and most active network of medical professionals – suggests that doctors are increasingly turning to digital channels for independent product information; while time pressures are making it more difficult for them to see pharmaceutical reps face-to-face. 

The research, which was conducted among more than 1,000 GPs across the UK, found that nearly a quarter of them (23%) said they preferred to obtain their own product information via independent online resources.

These findings follow earlier studies conducted by Doctors.net.uk which show that only 3% of doctors think that online pharma resources are credible and 42% never visit pharmaceutical websites.

The latest research found that 52% of GPs did not see any pharmaceutical sales representatives in a typical week and 26% of them saw only one pharma sales rep in that period.

Lack of time was the most common reason cited by GPs for not seeing pharma sales reps (38%); while verbatim comments provided by 15% of respondents also revealed that seeing pharma reps was against practice policy for some and that a perceived lack of impartiality was a key concern.

Other findings from the research included the fact that 68% of GPs said they were more likely to see a pharma sales rep if they had a sound knowledge of the disease their product was designed to treat. However, only 40% of GPs thought that pharma sales reps were adequately trained and able to add value to treatment decisions.

When asked what gave pharma sales reps credibility, 62% cited strong knowledge of relevant disease areas, 49% said product knowledge and 43% said a clear understanding of how the product compared to competitors.

Simon Grime, Managing Director of Communications at Doctors.net.uk, said: “Our research shows pharma rep sales are finding it increasingly difficult to meet with GPs face to face. This is partly due to GPs' desire to conduct their own independent product research via the internet. 

“Online channels, such as Doctors.net.uk, which is used by more than 190,000 doctors, have a critical role to play in helping pharma companies adapt to this change by enabling them to find new ways to engage with doctors through the provision of timely, relevant resources that benefit their clinical practice.”

For more information on Doctors.net.uk, please call Simon Grime on +44 (0)1235 828400, or email Simon.Grime@mess.doctors.org.uk. You can also follow Doctors.net.uk on twitter: @doctors_net_uk

15th August 2012

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