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Call Handling in the Pharmaceutical Industry: A Benchmarking Survey

Title
Call Handling in the Pharmaceutical Industry: A Benchmarking Survey

Abstract
Health care professionals (HCPs) and consumers frequently contact pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to request information about marketed products. These calls are typically handled by medical information (MI) departments, which vary in size and structure. The study objective was to benchmark the handling of verbal inquiries by MI departments within the industry, including an assessment of after-hours coverage and resources utilized to provide responses. Twenty-five company MI representatives completed a web-based survey. These companies represented a well-balanced variety of call volume and number of products supported. The majority of first-line call centers were staffed by pharmacists (with or without nurses) who addressed questions from consumers and HCPs. Approximately a third of all companies surveyed outsource their first-line call centers. Most companies (21/25) offer a second-line call center to address questions from consumers (12/21) and HCPs (21/21). Most companies have a second-line product/ therapy area specialist (18/21), but of these, less than half (8/18) only answer questions for their specialty areas. Most companies (19/25) offer after-hours services for consumers and HCPs.