Is Prescription Drug Tracking Cloaking a Pharmaceutical Marketing Scheme?

The drug companies are now using technology in order to target the doctors who will make them the most money. The day of the highly personable face-to-face pharmaceutical sales rep may be fading as drug manufacturers are looking for cost-effective ways to sell their product in this economy. Oftentimes instead of sending a salesman to make a pitch at a doctor’s office, pharmaceutical companies will now tap into the vast network of databases they have access to in order to figure out where their time and money will best be spent.

Many people may not know it, but their medical information is accessible by drug manufacturers. All details that may identify an individual personally have been removed, but the nameless medical history is a feast of valuable information for pharmaceutical companies. From these databases, they may glean the following:

  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Income bracket
  • Medical diagnoses
  • Lab tests
  • Compare the prescribing habits of doctors in the same region
  • Whether or not patients are filling their prescriptions

All of this knowledge can help drug companies understand which doctors to target when selling their product in order to maximize their profits.

Studies Show Doctors Less Willing to Talk to Drug Reps These Days

Part of the reason drug companies turned toward these databases for information is because physicians as a whole have become less available to pharmaceutical sales reps than they were in the recent past. Research has found that doctors have become less likely to make time to talk to drugs reps for the following reasons:

  • They are tired of listening to drug manufacturers’ sales pitches.
  • They have to see too many patients and do not have the time.
  • They prefer to get their prescription medication information from more reputable sources.

Just as doctors are becoming less accessible, the drug companies have been laying off many of their sales force. Many manufacturers are looking to save money because of the struggling economy and once highly profitable drugs have lost their patent protection.

Drug Companies Seek to Understand How Doctors Influence Each Other

Pharmaceutical companies aim these days to find out how doctors are influencing the prescribing choices of their colleagues. This is something known in the drug industry as “influence mapping,” and it is central in finding out how to sway the word-of-mouth recommendation for prescription drugs among professionals in the medical field.

As the drug companies become savvier, their ability to manipulate the way drug information is passed from doctor to doctor will improve. Many fear this will lead to less reliable prescription choices by physicians.

Do you think these practices may feed into the prescription drug epidemic that America currently faces?

If your loved one is struggling with a dependence upon his or her prescription painkiller, call now to learn more about our drug rehab programs here at Axis.