More than 100 people contracted COVID-19 at a Biogen management meeting in February of 2020 sparking the spread of the virus in Massachusetts. Amarin, Amgen and Merck announced their plans to halt in-person sales interactions shortly thereafter and most other biopharma companies followed suit. The pandemic has changed the biopharma sales rep role through the increasing utilization of virtual sales meetings.
Even without the change brought on by the pandemic, biopharma sales reps were facing more and more restrictions on their access to doctors in their offices or at hospitals. Everest Group reported that the amount of time, access and influence hospitals have been willing to grant biopharma sales reps has been dropping for some time now. DRG’s 2019 annual ePharma Physician Report reported that 54% of physician respondents said they saw biopharma sales reps in person in 2019 down from 67% in 2018. The pandemic is accelerating a trend that was already happening and heading toward the use of digital detailing permanently.