Visits by pharmaceutical sales representatives to doctors have begun to rebound despite the public health authorities’ concerns over the resurge of Covid-19 infections, a report showed.
According to the report by IQVIA Korea, drug sales reps’ visits to hospitals and clinics in April went up 23 percent from the previous month. However, the numbers were down 17 percent from a year earlier.
Earlier IQVIA data showed that the visits declined 31.8 percent year-on-year in March when both local drugmakers and multinational pharmaceutical firms refrained from promotional activities. In the first quarter, the numbers dropped 13.9 percent year-on-year.
The visits by multinational drugmakers’ salespersons fell more rapidly than those by local firms.
The accumulated visits by multinationals to doctors were down 17.7 percent in February, down 31.8 percent in March, and down 32.9 percent in April, year-on-year. In April, when salespersons resumed promotional activities, the numbers recovered to around 100,000 visits. Still, they were 36.2 percent less than April last year.
At local drug companies, the accumulated visits declined 9.8 percent and 10.5 percent in March and April, respectively, year-on-year.
IQVIA also released information on drug promotions through partnerships between multinationals and domestic companies.
Out of all local drug companies' visits to doctors, 13 percent was for the promotion of their multinational partners’ products.
In April, local drug companies made about 640,000 visits to doctors for drug promotion, and 80,000 visits were for medicines of multinational companies. Multinational companies’ salespersons have made 100,000 visits in April, plus 80,000 visits by domestic partner firms, totaling the visits to 180,000.
“Pharmaceutical firms’ promotional activities have normalized since April, and an increase in their visits will show this trend,” said Jeon Seung, the executive director of commercial operations at IQVIA Korea. “Domestic pharmaceutical companies may feel that the recovery of sales activities is slow. But compared to those in European countries hit hard by Corona-19, the recovery of domestic sales activities is impressively fast.”
As of late April, pharmaceutical firms’ communication with healthcare professionals plunged 57 percent in Italy, and 58 percent in Spain.
Recovering the visits to doctors will be the most important for drugmakers, but they need to think if doctors would also want more visits by drug salespersons, Jeon pointed out.
He advised that drug salespersons would do better to prepare “appropriate and effective visits” that meet doctors' needs.
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