The effectiveness of pharmaceutical marketing

ER Kappe

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal


Pharmaceutical marketing effectiveness comprises the measurement of marketing efforts of pharmaceutical firms towards doctors and patients. These firms spend billions of dollars yearly to promote their prescription drugs. This dissertation provides empirical analyses and methods to contribute to several substantial problems on pharmaceutical marketing effectiveness. Using unique data in every essay, it studies the role of the firm, sales rep and doctor in pharmaceutical marketing. The first essay evaluates the size of the sales force and the allocation of sales calls among doctors. In particular, it provides a method to gauge a yet-to-be-enacted firm-initiated policy shift. The second essay studies the effectiveness of the information content provided in sales calls. The main questions evolve around the discussion of positively biased drug information and the responsiveness of doctors to that. In the third essay, the interplay between drug sales, marketing and scientific reviews is studied in detail. The essays reveal important implications for academics and managers. For academics: (i) a new alternative to gauge policy shifts is offered; (ii) a model is offered to analyze the effectiveness of sales message content; and (iii) scientific reviews should be considered to correctly measure pharmaceutical marketing effectiveness. The implications for managers are: (i) the market leader is able to buck the trend in increasing sales forces; (ii) sales reps discuss positively biased information too often, which is counterproductive in the long run; and (iii) scientific reviews on products should be actively considered as a part of the marketing mix.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Stremersch, Stefan, Supervisor
  • Franses, Philip Hans, Doctoral committee member
  • Eliashberg, Doctoral committee member
  • Wierenga, Berend, Doctoral committee member
Award date24 Jun 2011
Place of PublicationRotterdam
Print ISBNs9789058922830
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2011


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