Bucking the Trend in Pharmaceutical Detailing: Enriching Data to Gauge a Policy Shift



This study evaluates the arms race in pharmaceutical detailing and gauges the consequences of various policy shifts that may be able to buck the trend. It provides an alternative decision support tool for firms and public policy makers that aids in gauging the implications of a policy shift ex ante. The approach combines revealed prescription and detailing data with stated detailing data obtained from managers through a conjoint experiment. It provides an alternative to either an all reduced-form approach or a fully structural approach to analyze policy shifts. It also provides a more detailed and quantitative assessment of a policy shift than the general scenario planning approach. The results show that small detailing changes are not able to buck the trend, but a drastic reduction in detailing by the market leader is needed to generate a profitable market outcome for all players. The initiator of the shift is always better off and the followers show mixed outcomes on profitability. Furthermore, initiating a downward policy shift always reduces the size of the market. Given the controversy surrounding this arms race, the results imply that market leaders should take responsibility, otherwise the government should consider intervention in the market.
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Dr. G. Liberali