Pharmaceutical executives are waking up to a hard new reality. The winds of healthcare economic change, accelerated by a historic pandemic, have upended the old “feet on the street” commercial sales playbook by which they successfully operated for good. Whether pharma leaders like it or not, the future of the commercial model is here to stay. And, while most now accept this fact and are pivoting their model, history reminds us of one constant: institutional change is difficult.

The relationship between drug company sales representatives and physicians, which has been traditionally marked by easy in-person access and wooing over meals, has been in transition for years. Even before Covid-19 arrived, data showed a decline in access by pharmaceutical representatives to physicians.

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