Drug reps should be monitored by industry

PHARMACEUTICAL companies are under pressure to monitor their sales representatives, after new research revealed a visit to a GP is becoming a growing marketing tool in Australia.

The research, from Cegedim Strategic Data, showed spending on pharmaceutical rep meetings with GPs rose by 9.3% to $47.7 million from 2009 to 2010. 

The increase came as the entire pharmaceutical industry spending on marketing – including detailing, mailing, print advertising and samples – rose by 9% to $353.5 million.

Dr Ken Harvey, adjunct senior lecturer at La Trobe University’s School of Public Health, said pharmaceutical companies monitored all other aspects of their marketing in line with the industry’s own code of conduct and federal regulations, via the reporting of gifts, entertainment and sponsorship of educational events.

“[But] they don’t monitor what is [among the] most expensive form of promotion, which is