Australian docs fight to ban meetings between physicians, pharma sales reps
- A group of physicians in Australia have launched a "No Advertising Please" campaign to stop pharma sales representatives from coming to doctors’ offices to promote treatments.
- The advocates are concerned about the large influence that pharma reps may garner through purchasing doctors' meals and providing perks for doctors as part of their sales strategy.
- In response, the Australian pharmaceutical industry is arguing that by barring reps from doctors’ offices, the doctors will lose access to the most up-to-date information about drugs, which could be bad for patients.
Australia has a self-regulated code of conduct for pharmaceutical sales representatives. Under this code, reps can offer free samples, branded items for the office, and even meals. Advocates of the “No Advertising Please" campaign feel strongly that these behaviors influence doctors 'decision-making about what to prescribe to patients.
In fact, that’s true, according to a study by Dr. Geoff Spurling which shows that doctors who receive information from pharma reps are more than twice as likely to prescribe drugs they recommended. However, the Australian pharmaceutical industry argues that reps have a role to play in providing vital information to doctors. While some physicians agree with the campaign, others enjoy their relationships with sales reps. And although this campaign may result in some additional regulation for pharma reps, it's unlikely that sales reps will be completely eliminated from the marketing mix.