NEW YORK, Sept. 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Decision Resources Group (DRG),, a premier provider of high-value data, analytics and insights products and services to the healthcare industry, today announced the results of its annual ePharma Physician® report. The 2019 report revealed a drop in physician interaction with pharma representatives. The 2019 survey highlights a substantial shift in how physicians are accessing information about prescription drugs and biologics.

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This year's research found a drop in the share of physicians seeing reps in-person (from 67% to 54%), versus last year's survey. Most notably, physician respondents highlighted a time crunch as the primary cause for less in-person time, with increased patient loads, EHR maintenance and time spent on other bureaucratic tasks resulting in less available time to meet with pharma representatives.

The report finds a corresponding jump in the number of physicians that have not communicated with a representative within the last six months (from 24% to 39%), though the severity of the rise in "no contact" doctors varies by specialty. For example, while the percentage of primary care physicians that reported having no interaction with pharma reps shot up from 21% in 2018 to 40% in 2019, the share of gastroenterologists shunning reps rose from 2% to 8%.

Physicians are not using remote means of communicating with pharmas more as a result of this shift. Remote rep-physician communication (i.e., via email or phone) and remote details were more or less flat year over year, with 12% of physicians reporting using them, though among those physicians interested in or already using remote details, half would use them more often if more pharmas offered them, and almost half say they are a valuable supplementary info source between visits.

Communication with Medical Science Liaisons (MSLs)

Communication with Medical Science Liaisons is little changed from five years ago. Only 28% of physicians have interacted with an MSL in the past 6 months.

"We might have expected to see something of a shift from rep to MSL engagement," said Senior Analyst Dale Kappus. "Given the trend toward increasingly high-science, specialty and niche treatments, but it hasn't yet materialized."

The Impact of Self-Service

Physician respondents highlighted self-service as another key factor impacting their availability. Physicians are more reliant on their ability find information online. Respondents noted they are looking up information online to learn more about pharma products currently available on the market, with half (49%) saying they never had a question for a rep that they couldn't find answers for online. Pharma websites have gained a great deal of credibility with physicians over the past several years, with 46% of physicians deeming them a credible source of information in 2019, versus just 27% in 2017. As a result, they're exerting greater influence on physicians' clinical decision-making, with 37% now calling pharma websites influential (versus 25% in 2016).

Most Valuable Content

The study shows how physicians' content needs shift over the course of the product lifecycle. Physicians are most open to product communication during the first-year post FDA approval. For newly-launched drugs and biologics, 56% want reps to share information on indications, treatment guidelines, and samples. After the first year of launch, priorities shift to samples and patient resources. As products mature, physicians are less open to product information and start to prioritize value-added offerings from pharma, such as patient resources and financial support, suggesting that pharmas can boost late cycle engagement by promoting these sorts of resources.

To learn more about the Decision Resources Group 2019 ePharma Physician Report, visit:


The DRG 2019 ePharma Physician® report was completed by 1,285 U.S. practicing physicians from April 2019- May 2019. The 2019 survey was conducted online by physicians required to confirm their area of specialty and meet each of the following criteria: be board-certified or eligible in their area of specialty (except family practice/general practice) and see one or more patients on a weekly basis. The final data set is compared to the known national universe of practicing U.S. physicians by age, gender, region, practice setting, and specialty to accurately reflect the current overall population of U.S. practicing physicians.

About Decision Resources Group (DRG)

DRG, a subsidiary of Piramal Enterprises Ltd., is the premier source for global healthcare data and market intelligence. A trusted partner for over 20 years, DRG helps companies competing in the global healthcare industry make informed business decisions. Organizations committed to developing and delivering life-changing therapies to patients rely on DRG's in-house team of expert healthcare analysts, data scientists, and consultants for critical guidance. DRG products and services, built on extensive data assets and delivered by experts, empower organizations to succeed in complex healthcare markets. DRG's digital division is the life science industry's partner for data-driven customer engagement and commercial innovation whose research includes the longest-running studies of multichannel attitudes and behaviors among healthcare customers.

Media contact:

Catherine Daniel
Decision Resources Group

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