Cutting Edge Information recently published its “Pharmaceutical Sales Management” report, which included data on “eDetailing.” Ed Silverman, a Wall Street Journal blogger, summarized the data in the report and stated “the average annual [per company] investment in electronic methods [of pharma sales interactions with physicians] is $1.96 million”(see here).

Many pharma marketing professionals were skeptical of the $1.96 million number as I mentioned in a previous post (read “Pharma Spends What on eSales?“).

It turns out that the confusion has to do with the terminology used. I used the term “eSales” as Twitter shorthand for “interactions … using the Internet or mobile device to host webinars or interact with physicians by email,” which is how Silverman described what Cutting Edge Information calls “eDetailing,” which, as it turns out, may include only LIVE online activities such as virtual reps performing online informational sessions and linking field reps with doctors via webcams. That’s a much more limited definition of “eDetailing” than is typical (see this definition).

A better term for what Cutting Edge measured, IMHO, is “Virtual Detailing.” The $1.6 million annual spend per company makes sense if we are talking only about virtual detailing.

Here’s the chart from Cutting Edge Information showing the “Annual Investment in eDetailing by Benchmark Partners (US Only):”

Source: Cutting Edge Information. Click on image for an enlarged view.

Here’s some other data about “eDetailing” in the Cutting Edge report:

  • Percentage of details done via Internet or mobile technology
  • Number of monthly details done via Internet or mobile technology
  • Annual investments in eDetailing
  • Percentage of eDetailing investment, by eDetailing type
  • Effectiveness ratings of eDetailing, by type
  • Prescriber levels targeted with eDetailing
  • Budgets of dedicated virtual sales rep teams
  • Investment per virtual rep on dedicated teams

Sorry, I don’t have access to all that data. Maybe I can interview someone at Cutting Edge to learn more.