Preventing a Data Overdose

Pharmaceuticals CRM manages multiple types of customers and regulations.

Ask Boris Meyerson, senior director of information at Bradley Pharmaceuticals Inc., about CRM, and you'll get an earful.

He'll tell you about the Electronic Records and Signatures Act, the Prescription Drug Marketing Act and some of the other federal regulations and industry best practices with which his company must comply.

But like every other business, the Malvern, Pa.-based provider of prescription dermatology products must also make a profit. Meyerson says his firm selected software from StayinFront Inc. that's tailored to the pharmaceutical industry, because in addition to the complexity of regulations, "in the pharma industry, we have three layers of customers," which necessitates a special style of CRM.

In order for a CRM system to work, it must combine input about drug sales from pharmacies with similar data from insurers and hospitals and then map that against advertising efforts and promotional activities with specific physicians, says Meyerson.

Judy Hanover, an analyst at Life Science Insights in Framingham, Mass., says CRM is different in this industry because of the nature of sales and the regulatory requirements.

"In pharmaceuticals, representatives do not write orders; they work with physicians to provide information about their products, referred to as detailing," she says.

"They also may collect and report information about adverse events and/or reimbursement issues, which are often handled by special call centers configured to collect and assist in these transactions," says Hanover.

"Pharmaceutical companies have generally been early adopters of CRM," says Dale Hagemeyer, an analyst at Gartner Inc. "They are now mature users with wide adoption across the industry, sometimes in a second- or third-generation implementation."

Earls is a freelance writer in Franklin, Mass. Contact him at alanearls@comcast.net.

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