Among the many trends accelerated by the pandemic was the overhaul of pharma’s commercial model. It was tacitly understood to be ripe for change – the cost was increasingly conspicuous, and the results increasingly suspect.

The prior model had grown out of step with field realities. Employed physicians had less time available for reps, and their influence on purchase decisions had been diluted by committees on which they are just one voice among many. But resistance – from clinicians and industry veterans – was a drag on change, even as doubts grew about the old model’s effectiveness.

The pandemic-induced lockdown ended debate on the subject, as virtual meetings and digital marketing suddenly became the only option. Ironic as it may be, Covid may have rescued pharma from the consequences of its own inertia.

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