Otsuka Pharma, the pharmaceutical company responsible for the blockbuster drug Abilify, is in the process of purchasing 1,300 iPads for its sales reps in Japan for marketing purposes. The iPads will be used to give presentations to physicians and for the sales force to study company material.

According to the Businessweek article, the company is also considering implementing this strategy in other countries.  They plan on spending up to $2.5 million on the iPads, including service fees.  It’s only a matter of time before the big pharma companies in the US follow suit by buying iPads in bulk.  It’s the perfect tool if you’re a sales rep, especially if you have 3G connectivity – allowing you to get updated news and data to your iPad while you’re in the field.

Although the iPad doesn’t provide as much functionality as a full featured tablet PC, my experience with pharmaceutical sales rep has left me to believe they don’t need the extra features a full feature laptop provides – at least for the physician interaction.  A mobile device that can show graphs and tables, hook up to a projector, and input basic data are functions the iPad can provide.  It’s also significantly cheaper than many of the tablet computers on the market right now.

Plus, pharma sales reps are always trying to get the attention of the physicians – and the “cool factor” of the iPad might just get them a few extra minutes of face time.

Source: Businessweek