- The Role and Function of Detaileman in Drug Manufacturing Companies, As Relating to the Collecting and Relaying of Medical Information in Japan
- No.21, p.131-148
The paper reports the results of a survey which was conducted to determine the role that detailmen of pharmaceutical firms play in the Japanese medical community and discusses the information activities they are involved in.
Prior to beginning this survey, twenty-five reports of studies done in the past on the same topic, were reviewed to ascertain the findings, which were then summarized along the following lines: (1) detailmen were recognized as one of the most important drug information sources for physicians, (2) in Japan, detailmen acted not only as a source of information pertaining to the development of new drugs, but also assisted in evaluating and prescribing drugs, though in the USA they acted only as a source of information for new drugs, (3) physicians thought that detailmen did not have enough basic knowledge of medical and pharmaceutical sciences, (4) pharmacists complained that detailmen did not provide sufficient up-to-date information, such as changes of drug composition or the contents of package inserts, (5) detailmen acted as a kind of information broker, and they supplied medical literature and literature retrieval services on variety of subjects for physicians as a free service to promote their companies' products.
The quetionnaire forms were designed based on these findings, and were sent to hospitals of various sizes, and detailmen who visited them responded. A hundred and thirty-five detailmen of 65 pharmaceutical firms filled out the quetionnaires. The results are: (1) Detailmen primarily provided information about new drugs to physicians and pharmacists. (2) More than 90% of the respondents relayed up-to-date information, such as changes of package inserts or of drug composition, to the all pharmacists in the hospitals or clinics where their drugs were used. (3) Information activities carried out by detailmen differed according to the type of practice of the physician they visited, the number of years of experience as a detailman, and to the size of the company they worked for. (a) To practitioners, in clinics, they visits were infrequent, and they provided information about drugs only through pamphlets and explanation. In addition, wholesalers themselves often brought information about drugs. (b) Detailmen visited very frequently physicians who practiced at hospitals and 64% of detailmen in charge of university hospitals visited the hospital every day, and used multiple media to relay drug information to the physicians; pamphlets, scientific papers, and explanation. (c) The longer their years of experience, the more information they provided for physicians and the more information they gathered from physicians and pharmacists. (4) Detailmen felt the necessity for basic knowledge of medical science and technical terms, which they felt they had not acquired sufficiently. Although, with experience of affiliation with a large company, one's (detailmen's) knowledge increased. (5) Detailmen's information sources were their own companies, e.g. training they received and documents that the companies provided. (6) Detailmen who had background in pharmaceutical science were not satisfied with drug information service sections of their companies. Detailmen who were dissatisfied with the quality of these sections felt that they did not provide appropriate answers for detailmen when they had a question about their company's drugs.