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Straight from the heart

Pfizer impresses in medeConnect survey of cardiologists' views of companies and brands

A person offering a heart shaped cloud to someone elseCardiologists are the fourth of the speciality doctor groups to have been surveyed by medeConnect Healthcare Insight - part of the group. This Doctor Monitor feature provides key insights into the respondents' opinions on pharmaceutical companies, key brands, representatives, education and meetings.

The questionnaire was conducted online with members of during March 2010: the respondents were 100 senior grade cardiologists (60 consultant grade and 40 SPR grade). The results are summarised below.


Companies you trust 

Q1: Which pharmaceutical company do you trust the most?
1 Pfizer  21%
2= AstraZeneca  13%
2= sanofi-aventis 13%
4 Merck Sharp & Dohme 9%
5 Servier 7%
  None of these 7%

The cardiologists chose from a list of 30 major pharmaceutical companies. The question of which pharma company they trust the most gives an impressive statistic for Pfizer: with 21 per cent of responses, it ranks much higher than any other company. AstraZeneca and sanofi-aventis achieved equal second highest ratings, with 13 per cent of participants claiming to trust these companies the most; Merck Sharp & Dohme came next, with 9 per cent.


Educational materials from pharma companies

Q2: Which pharmaceutical company provides you with the most helpful educational materials?
1 Pfizer  15%
2 sanofi-aventis 14%
3 Servier  13%
4= AstraZeneca  9%
4= Merck Sharp & Dohme 9%
  None of these 12%

A total of 15 per cent of cardiologists selected Pfizer as the company that provides the most helpful educational materials. Sanofi-aventis and Servier follow very closely with 14 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively. AstraZeneca has slipped into joint fourth place in this question, compared to its joint second place status for being most trusted in Q1. Interestingly, 12 per cent of cardiologists declined to answer this question and opted instead for "none of these".


Pharmaceutical company recommendation 

Q3: If asked, which pharmaceutical company would you recommend to a colleague? 
1 Pfizer  26%
2 AstraZeneca  26%
3 Boehringer Ingelheim 25%
4 sanofi-aventis 24%
5 Novartis 22%

As this question did not offer "none of these" as an option, the cardiologists were required to give information based on "likelihood to recommend". Scores of eight, nine, or 10 were classified as "promoter" scores, where doctors are defined as likely to recommend the company. Although there was very little difference between the top five, Pfizer and AstraZeneca once again feature at the top of the list. Boehringer Ingelheim and Novartis are rated more highly than in previous questions. This is quantitative research: as a follow up it would be interesting to discover whether this rating is linked to volume of calls and awareness.


Satisfaction with clinical experience of products

Q4:  Please rate your satisfaction with your clinical experience with the product
Product Mean score based on cardiologist response
1 Plavix (BMS/sanofi-aventis) 4.6
2 Lipitor (Pfizer) 4.5
3 Clexane (sanofi-aventis) 4.4
4= Crestor (AstraZeneca) 4.1
4= Aprovel (sanofi-aventis) 4.1

Twenty-three major cardiology products were included in this question and cardiologists were asked to rate each product, though they were able to enter "not familiar enough to rate this product". The mean score was then calculated from the doctor responses of: very satisfied (five) through to very dissatisfied (one), with five options in total.

BMS/sanofi-aventis' Plavix occupies top spot, with Pfizer's Lipitor and sanofi-aventis' Clexane following close behind. The clinical experience scores for these top three products were all very close, illustrating little differentiation based on the cardiologists' feedback, however, they were clearly ahead of the rest. It is interesting to note that the highest scoring products are from BMS/sanofi-aventis, Pfizer and AstraZeneca, which may also help to explain the companies' high trust scores in Q1.


Satisfaction with representatives 

Q5:  Please rate your satisfaction with your clinical experience with the product
Product Mean score based on cardiologist response
1 Lipitor (Pfizer) 4.0
2 Plavix (BMS/sanofi-aventis) 3.9
3 Crestor (AstraZeneca) 3.9
4= Inspira (Pfizer) 3.8
4= Efient (Daiichi Sankyo/Lilly) 3.8

In response to Q5, Lipitor representatives score highest on overall satisfaction, with a ranking of 4.0. BMS/sanofi-aventis' and AstraZeneca's representatives (for Plavix and Crestor, respectively) are close behind, with scores of 3.9. However, the top three scores again show little differentiation among product representatives when judged on "overall satisfaction". Interestingly, the top rated products/companies in this question are the same as those ranked highest in Q4, which related to clinical experience with products. Daiichi Sankyo/Lilly's Efient creates a first mention for Eli Lilly.


Representatives with the best clinical understanding 

Q6:  Which representatives have the best clinical understanding?
Product Mean score based on cardiologist response
1 Lipitor (Pfizer) 0.79
2 Plavix (BMS/sanofi-aventis) 0.59
3 Procoralan (Servier) 0.50
4 Crestor (AstraZeneca) 0.47
5 Efient (Daiichi Sankyo/Lilly) 0.42

Cardiologists were asked to rank their top three choices from the list of products, so that if a product is chosen first it scores three, if chosen second it scores two and the one chosen third scores one. The overall scores are then calculated based on the sum of the scores for each product divided by the entire base of respondents, to ensure that the mean scores do not over-value products whose representatives are rated highly by a very small number of doctors.

The Lipitor representatives achieve the highest score once again. Interestingly, Clexane takes a tumble into eighth place in this category, with a rating of just 0.31.


Likelihood to attend company sponsored meetings 

Q7:  Which product sponsored meeting are you most likely to attend?
Product Score based on cardiologist response
1 Multaq (sanofi-aventis) 19%
2 Efient (Daiichi Sankyo/Lilly) 16%
3 Pradaxa (Boehringer Ingelheim) 13%
4= Angiox (Nycomed) 9%
4= Plavix (BMS/sanofi-aventis) 9%
  None of these  10% 

Cardiologists were asked to make one selection of which product-sponsored meeting they were most likely to attend. The clear favourite was Multaq (sanofi-aventis), which suggests that sanofi-aventis holds the most interesting meetings or has placed real focus on educational meetings for cardiologists prior to launch. Efient, another recent launch, may be the most likely to have used an educational meeting strategy. The highest scorers in this category are the products that cardiologists find most interesting: among them, surprisingly, are two products that haven't yet appeared in the top five — Pradaxa (Boehringer Ingelheim) and Angiox (Nycomed).

Pfizer, BMS and sanofi-aventis are popular with cardiologists due to their representatives and the pre-existing clinical experience with Plavix and Lipitor. Impressively, Pfizer scores highest in five separate categories, which illustrates the company's popularity with cardiologists. Some interesting mentions of education for Multaq (sanofi-aventis) and Efient (Daiichi Sankyo/Lilly) highlight a focus on educational meetings, particularly around launch. Further analysis, to correlate company promotional and educational activity with the impact on doctors, may be needed.

The Author
If you would like more information on this survey, please contact Carwyn Jones,
Email: or call +44 (0)1235 828 400.

To comment on this article, email

18th May 2010


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