Two of the three top contract sales organisations in the UK - Ashfield Healthcare and In2Focus - have coupled to form Ashfield In2Focus, a new powerhouse of pharmaceutical outsourcing.

The move, which, as Chris Corbin, former managing director of Ashfield Healthcare and now head Ashfield In2Focus, told PharmaTimes UK News, is designed to provide clients with a wider range of services in an evolving market, has seen the newborn group become the largest provider of fieldforces to pharmaceutical companies in the UK.

Ashfield In2Focus’ expanded menu weaves together each company’s expertise in the sector and, in addition to providing medical representative and nurse teams, also offers sales force effectiveness and business research and consulting services.

“This merger is fantastic news for the UK CSO market,” said Liam Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of parent company United Drug plc. “With this merger, Ashfield In2Focus will be able to concentrate on what it knows best – providing the pharmaceutical marketplace with flexible, highly skilled and bespoke outsourced solutions.”

Changing times

“This is a very exciting time for current and prospective clients, and the entire UK pharmaceutical market,” said Corbin, who told PharmaTimes UK News that the requirement of clients has been changing over time. “There is much more talk now of using specialist teams rather than traditional primary care trust ones, and more niche/creative ideas are necessary. The industry is changing the way it promotes itself and its products.”

Furthermore, he says, companies seem to be reducing their core saleforces, but a shift in considering the fieldforce as a fixed resource to a variable solution is helping to drive growth again in the CSO sector.

Ashfield In2Focus will be headquartered at Ashfield’s head office and training facility in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, into which United Drug previously invested £9 million.