Pharma scales back drug samples to physician offices

Pharmaceutical companies have slashed their sales rep force by about 30% from a high of 105,000 five years ago, according to industry figures. And as the number of detailers has fallen, so, too, has another hallmark of pharmaceutical marketing: drug samples.

Drugmaker spending on the samples that drug reps leave behind in physician offices has gone down by 25% since 2007, said Cegedim Strategic Data, a global pharmaceutical market-research firm that surveys a rotating panel of 2,300 U.S. physicians to generate its industrywide estimates. In 2007, drugmakers spent nearly $8.4 billion on samples. That figure fell to about $6.3 billion in 2011, the most recent data available.

My latest front-page story. Read the whole shebang.