Effect of dwindling sales rep involvement in CME

According to this article from AMNews, and as we reported in Medical Meetings last spring, all the new rules and regs are cutting the sales reps out of the CME loop for many companies. The AMNews article says:

    The loss of the sales contact also could shrink the pot of money available, according to Van Harrison, PhD, CME director at the University of Michigan Medical School.

    "In my opinion, many companies have said the secondary benefit of sales people giving the grants is they get face time with physician leaders," Dr. Harrison said, adding that those companies might now think that their sales staff is losing a secondary benefit and lower how much they spend.

Someone I interviewed recently for the December cover story on industry/provider relations had this prediction to make: "I think we'll see a huge drop in sales force sizes over the next couple of years as companies rethink their role in transferring and/or marketing their research to the medical community."

Will the new rules governing industry/provider relations cause a fundamental shift in pharma's involvement in CME? If so, will it be good or bad for the CME enterprise as a whole?

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