Current Practices & Trends in Physician E-Sampling Programs


Pharmaceutical companies are often searching for new ways to supply patients and physicians with samples of their medications. One approach that has gained momentum in recent years is e-sampling—a program that enables physicians to order and manage prescription samples online easily. E-sampling is an effective way to not only to promote a product, but also to build critical relationships with prescribers. In fact, E-sampling has become a key marketing and sales tactic within the pharmaceutical industry in recent years.

Research has found that 30% of patients are more likely to fill a prescription after initially receiving a sample from a physician. This shows just how important e-sampling can be, and this statistic has encouraged leading pharmaceutical companies to begin supplying physicians and their patients with samples of prescription medications. Despite this, a large number of companies have yet to embrace this opportunity, thus missing out on a large number of potential customers.

From our research we identified current & future trends in physician e-sampling that can help leaders to improve the efficiency & effectiveness of their e-sampling programs:

  • E-Sampling Reaches across Therapeutic Areas: Physician E-Sampling has been utilized recently across a wide range of therapeutic areas– including diabetes and most other large chronic care areas. Although physician E-sampling has been in place in many companies for five or more years, ¼ of the benchmark class is still new to the channel.
  • Marketing & Sales: As previously mentioned, physician E-sampling offers a variety of marketing, relationship and cost-reduction benefits. Marketing and product promotion benefits were listed as the top reasons for physician E-sampling programs.
  • Computer-based Systems & Physician E-Sampling: 41% of respondents utilize stand-alone computer-based physician E-Sampling systems. On the other hand, 72% of companies still pair computer-based systems with paper or phone support systems to manage their physician E-sampling.
  • Key Drivers: Four benefits to physician E-Sampling programs were identified by benchmark partners:
  1. Support increased sales
  2. Increased physician access
  3. Cost effectiveness
  4. Help to build relationships

Sampling programs continue to evolve as the traditional sampling conduit—sales reps—increasingly face restricted access to physicians as well as headcount constraints. Whether these programs are established or not, companies should become aware of the benefits associated with E-Sampling, as these programs are evolving to be integral parts of sales and marketing within biopharma organizations.

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