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Pharma reps believe their main goal is education, not marketing

This post courtesy of Anne Taylor-Vaisey:

Here's an interesting study from McMaster University about how pharmaceutical reps perceive their roles. The study appeared in the November 2004 issue of Education for Health: Change in Learning & Practice. (Subscription required to view entire article.)

O'Donnell MJ, Molloy DW, Smith SD, Dubois S, Russo RM. The self-perceived role and educational needs of pharmaceutical representatives: a survey. Education for Health: Change in Learning & Practice 2004; 17(3):339-345.

Introduction: Despite considerable debate in the medical literature about the educational utility of pharmaceutical representatives (PR), little is known about their attitudes towards their role as marketers and/or educators, their ability to provide comprehensive information about products and their learning needs.

Design: A survey.

Subjects and Method: Questionnaires were mailed to 606 PRs from five Canadian pharmaceutical companies.

Results: Of 309 (51%) respondents, 98% strongly agreed or agreed they had a role in educating doctors, while 52% strongly disagreed or disagreed their main goal was marketing. Overall, 92% agreed they had received adequate training to perform a well-informed detail, and 96% reported the information they provide is accurate. The majority (66%) felt a university-accredited program would improve the quality of their detailing.

Conclusion: Most PRs believe their main goal is education. Despite most reporting that they had received adequate training, they felt that a university-accredited educational program would improve the quality of detailing. The number of years that a PR spent in the industry appears to have an effect on how they perceive their role.

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