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For Pharma Reps, Access to Physicians Continuing to Drop

Only 47 percent of prescribers considered accessible in 2015, compared with 55 percent in 2013

FRIDAY, Sept. 11, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Physician access for pharmaceutical representatives is continuing to decline, with access restricted to some degree for more than half of physicians, according to an AccessMonitor survey published by ZS.

Call reports from 70 percent of all U.S. pharmaceutical companies’ sale representatives were analyzed. Overall, 47 percent of prescribers were considered accessible in 2015 compared with 55 and 51 percent in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Seventeen and 36 percent of physicians severely and moderately limited access, respectively, to the number of representatives allowed to visit them.

The percentage of accessible prescribers has been declining since 2008, when nearly 80 percent were considered accessible. A driving factor in access restrictions is consolidation among providers, which leads to centralized purchasing for an entire hospital or health system. Nineteen of the 25 health system mergers examined led to greater declines in physician access within 12 months. Among graduates from the top 12 U.S. medical schools, only 36 percent were considered accessible, compared with 43 percent from the top 50 medical schools and 48 percent from all other medical schools.

“Pharma companies may be losing their most effective tool, but they have other tools available — they just need to become more adept at using them,” according to the report.

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