The iPad: indispensible tool or impractical toy?

pharmafield logo - pharma news

By Di Spencer, Pf Web Editor

In a recent poll, you (users of Pf’s website) voted in favour of the use of the iPad by the pharmaceutical sales force. A pretty solid majority of 44% agreed that pharma sales people should have the use of iPads in the field. A more reserved 31% felt that the use of iPads ‘might be appropriate in some cases’, while a further 20% felt there is no need to replace current CRM systems. Demonstrating your commitment to equality, just 5% you held the view that only professionals in certain roles should have the use of iPads.

The iPad – in case you’ve been living in a cave for the last few months – is the latest attempt by iPod and iPhone creators Apple to convince us that their range of electronic products beginning with i are vital to our existence in the modern world. Essentially, it is a tablet computer designed as a platform for audio and visual media and web content – fulfilling similar functions to the iPhone, albeit on a larger scale, but is much bigger and therefore awkward to carry around.

OK, so you may have detected a hint of cynicism in my tone, but I’m reliably informed that many people consider the iPad the greatest thing since sliced bread (it was, apparently, the most successful launch of a computer product ever) , and some of these people work for pharma companies. The industry has been quick to jump on the bandwagon and, judging by the results of our poll, sales executives are strongly in favour of this kind of revolution.

Its appeal lies in its low weight, long battery life, ease of use, relatively low cost and the fact that it can be used for presenting product information in an attractive and interactive format. Companies are even looking into following up basic presentations with ‘apps’ that doctors can download to their own iPads or pass on to patients.

Whether or not the iPad is going to lead to a revolution in pharma sales remains to be seen. But what do you think? Do you agree with our poll results? Will the iPad provide genuine value to the ‘rep in the field’, or is it just a case of everyone wanting the latest flashy gadget?

For more on the pros and cons of using the iPad in pharma field sales, see Andrew Tolve’s comprehensive discussion of the issue.

Contact the author: diana.spencer@healthpublishing.co.uk