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No more sales targets for GSK reps

Pharma company will also stop direct payments to doctors
GSK GlaxoSmithKline house

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is overhauling the compensation scheme for its sales reps - doing away with individual sales targets - as it tries to restore its reputation following allegations of bribery in China.

Instead, the company will reward sales professionals working directly with prescribers on the basis of their "technical knowledge, the quality of the service they deliver to support improved patient care and the overall performance of GSK's business," it said.

GSK also says it is planning to stop direct payments to healthcare professionals (HCPs) for speaking at and attending medical conferences. A two-year consultation process on HCP payments will start in early 2014 and the changes will be implemented by the start of 2016.

Rather than direct payments, GSK wants to provide funding via independent educational grants and will "continue to provide appropriate fees for services to healthcare professionals for GSK sponsored clinical research, advisory activities and market research".

GSK has been in the spotlight this year after being accused of paying almost $500m in bribes to doctors and health officials in China to boost prescribing of its drugs, with the resulting fall-out impacting its third-quarter financial results. Meanwhile, the company paid a massive $3bn settlement in the US in 2012 after pleading guilty to promoting drugs in unapproved uses and making unsupported safety claims for some of its products.

The new compensation system for reps is due to come into force across the company by early 2015, and is similar to the company's 'Patient First' programme, which was introduced in the US in 2011 and in the UK in 2012 and severed the link between rep pay and prescribing levels for drugs.

The programme also rewarded sales staff for "adherence to the company values of transparency, integrity, respect and patient focus," according to a GSK press release issued at the time.

The programme will be rolled out to all the other countries in which the company operates during 2014, with the aim of its being the global standard by the end of next year, a GSK spokesperson told PMLiVE.

The company will also boost its multi-channel marketing activities, such as digital, to communicate product and disease information to HCPs.

Commenting on the plans, GSK's chief executive Sir Andrew Witty said the changes are designed to bring "greater clarity and confidence that whenever we talk to a doctor, nurse or other prescriber, it is patients' interests that always come first."

"We recognise that we have an important role to play in providing doctors with information about our medicines, but this must be done clearly, transparently and without any perception of conflict of interest," he added.

Article by
Phil Taylor

17th December 2013

From: Sales, Marketing



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