More than nine out of ten physicians say they will likely participate in online pharmaceutical drug detailing presentations in the next few months and rate the Internet as an 'extremely positive' tool for receiving continuing education programs, according to a survey of doctors conducted by RxCentric, a company that specializes in web-based marketing for the healthcare industry.

The findings, which were presented this week at the SG Cowen Health Care Conference in Boston, MA, underscore an increasing preference by doctors for Internet-based sales presentations and point out a significant cost savings opportunity for pharmaceutical companies in how they market new drugs.

"As the number of new prescription drugs developed annually has skyrocketed, physicians are hard pressed to keep up with needed information. Online detailing promises to make the education process easier, more convenient for doctors, and less expensive for pharmaceutical companies," said Richard Findlay, President and CEO of RxCentric.

According to Findlay, online detailing is rapidly becoming an attractive supplement to traditional detailing. This change is occurring in part because the amount of information that pharmaceutical companies need to convey to doctors is rapidly proliferating.

Recent reports show a 59% increase in new medications brought to market in the 1990s compared with the previous decade. Sending an ever-growing pool of reps out to detail an increasingly time-crunched group of prescribing doctors is proving inefficient and expensive.

Among the survey highlights:

-- 71% of the respondents say they have recently participated in a detail presentation over the Internet.

-- More than 90% of respondents said they would participate in an online detail presentation over the Internet if they receive an invitation.

-- Online brand presentations gained an equal preference versus an in-person presentation by a pharmaceutical sales representative.

"I like the convenience of being detailed during a time I select at home," said one doctor responding to the study. "My office is very busy and I honestly do not have the amount of time to spend with reps that I would like. I am interested in hearing what the pharmaceutical industry has to say about their products but not when I'm already 45 minutes behind in my appointments in the middle of a hectic afternoon."

"I enjoy the Internet programs and feel they are an excellent way to detail," said another doctor.

Furthermore, online details average about eight minutes, versus the average of two minutes for the more traditional in-person detailing presentation. Additionally, not only is there an extension of quality time via online detailing but on a per minute basis the traditional methods average $100 per minute as opposed to the online detailing methods averaging $12 to $15 per minute.

With the cost of an online detail being a fraction of that of a traditional detail, emerging ROI data for online marketing efforts are motivating pharmaceutical companies to reevaluate and reorganize the composition of their sales and marketing strategies to gain a marketing and financial advantage, said Findlay.

To learn more about RxCentric Inc., click here.