A survey by healthcare data and intelligence provider Binley’s has found that more than 40% of GPs have a negative view of the pharma industry as they believe it misunderstands their key challenges and working practices.
The ‘Perceptions of Pharma’ survey, which was conducted among 551 GPs in England, found that 43% of GPs who felt negatively about pharma believed it had a different agenda to their own and focused on sales and profit-making.
A further 20% of those respondents believed pharma did not understand how they worked and did not appreciate their needs and challenges whilst 17% also felt there was a lack of understanding about prescribing budget pressures.
Overall, perceptions of the pharma industry seemed to be influenced by whether or not GPs met pharma sales representatives regularly. Those who did not see any reps held more negative opinions (56%), compared to 32% negative for those who saw GPs regularly.
Sarah Eglington, healthcare intelligence director of Binley’s, says: “Our survey shows that securing face-to-face meetings with GPs continues to be a big challenge for pharma and cynicism about the industry abounds, particularly among the many GPs who do not regularly engage with pharma sales reps.
“However, there are still clear opportunities for the industry to build relationships with hard-to-reach GPs by funding education programmes and providing new support materials that will assist patients in self-managing some conditions.”
However, the survey found that large numbers of GPs did not meet pharma sales reps at all, with 63% citing lack of time as the main reason and 19% restrictive practice policies of not allowing rep visits within working hours.
GPs who did engage with pharma companies regularly were generally satisfied. However, Astra Zeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, GSK, Merck and Eli Lilly achieved the strongest ratings.
When asked how pharma could help them, 18% of GPs said companies should fund GP education, while 12% wanted pharma to help educate patients to self-manage conditions and the same number wanted it to reduce drug costs/be more reasonable on pricing.
These findings linked with another part of the Perceptions of Pharma survey in which 169 GP practice nurses were asked for their views on how pharma could support them. They wanted more prescribing information specifically targeted at nurses and funding for training.
by Yasmita Kumar