A survey of 551 GPs in England has revealed a growing divide between GPs and pharma, with two-thirds no longer meeting with sales representatives and more than 40% having a negative perception of the industry.

The ‘Perceptions of Pharma’ survey, carried out by healthcare data and intelligence provider Binley’s, found that 43% of GPs with a negative view of pharma believe it has a different agenda to theirs that is focussed on sales and profits.

Twenty per cent claim pharma doesn’t understand how GPs work and fails to appreciate their needs and challenges, while 17% spoke of a lack of understanding about prescribing budget pressures.

Interestingly, GP opinion on the industry seemed to improve with greater contact between the two factions; of GPs not seeing reps, 56% held a negative opinion of pharma, compared to 32% of those regularly meeting up. 

But the survey highlights the fact that securing face-to-face meetings with GPs is a huge challenge for pharma, with lack of time and practice policies banning rep visits during working ours proving to be firm barriers.

Nevertheless, "there are still clear opportunities for the industry to build relationships with hard to reach GPs by funding education programmes and providing new support materials that will assist patients in self-managing some conditions,” noted Sarah Eglington, healthcare intelligence director of Binley’s.