On February 19, the sidelines of the Pharmaceutical Business in Russia – 2013. Call for Change! conference hosted an interview session to discuss the most important industry issues with the medical community. The session was moderated by Igor Klimanov, Marketing Director at NPO Petrovax Pharm.
"The pharmaceutical industry is going through some dramatic changes as industry legislation is being created and amended. Pharma market players are adjusting their businesses to the new environment, looking for their own ways to survive and evolve. Our sessions bring together market professionals from across the spectrum, covering producers, distributors, and pharmacy retailers. Regulators, including the Ministry of Healthcare and the Federal Antimonopoly Service, have also been traditionally engaged in our discussion. However, today we are going to look at the pharmaceutical market's issues from a slightly different angle. We have a unique opportunity to have a live interview with practicing physicians and get their views on the recent legislative changes, cooperation with medical representatives, prescription drugs sales, and the choice between original and generic drugs," Igor Klimanov said in an opening statement. "Participating in the discussion today are Mikhail Shipilov, chief infectious disease specialist of the Smolensk Region and Department Head at a local hospital, Olga Demicheva, highest category board certified endocrinologist and advisor at City Clinical Hospital No. 11 in Moscow, and Semyon Galperin, a PhD in neurology and physician at City Clinical Hospital No. 11 in Moscow," said the moderator, introducing the panelists.
All of them agreed that med reps today are an increasingly aggressive personality. However, while in the past physicians found it rather difficult to limit med reps’ visits, now it has become an easy task, with the new legislative amendments in place. "Being too pushy is not an effective strategy today," noted Mikhail Shipilov. "It is only friendly attitude, professionalism, and profound knowledge of the medication that can help build long-lasting ties between medical representatives and the community. It is always nice to see representatives who show respect for us and appreciate us taking our time. Med reps are certainly an important source of information that should not be ignored. But along with them, physicians should also rely on Internet technologies, including online and teleconferences or training workshops," he said.
In her speech, Olga Demicheva also chose to focus on training programmes. "Today, the Internet is increasingly important for the industry, more and more physicians sourcing information from the web: 55% today up from 33% in 2011. Everyday updates are vital to us. For any physician, a day without learning means the knowledge and skills they have outdated by a year. This is the reason why I am always willing to accept an invitation from a medical representative to industry training events or international forums and congresses. In addition, awareness raising materials for patients are just as important."
Olga Demicheva also spoke about the trend towards larger drug sales from retail stores. "The process has begun and cannot be reversed," she said. "On the one hand, risks for patients are huge since we do not know how safe those drugs are. On the other hand, stronger competition will cause drug prices to drop, ultimately benefiting the consumer." When asked about choosing between original and generic drugs, Olga said that she accepts both options provided that each generic goes through bioequivalence tests, as it is done in other countries.