The pharmaceutical sales force has been slowly dwindling since its heyday in the late-90s and early aughts. While in-office calls from sales reps were once the most effective way to reach doctors, the advent of digital technology has made these calls less relevant.
Other factors have played a role in the evolution of the sales force. Pharma's shift away from big, blockbuster primary care markets to small, niche specialty care markets has meant that fewer reps are needed to get the message out. And doctors are spending less time with reps than ever before.
Amount spent by industry on unsuccessful attempts to see physicians
A Declining U.S. Sales Force
From the mid-90s to the mid-2000s, we moved from 40k sales reps to over 100k sales reps. Then in the last 10 years it has backed down to about 60k.Jude Konzelmann, managing principal at ZS Associates
hours physicians per year spend interacting with digital or non-personal promotion