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Isf 'best friend' tablet in USA, regulatory vacuum in Italy

Goodbye catalogs and paper material to bring with you to each appointment to best illustrate the characteristics of your company's drugs to doctors. The American scientific whistleblower has almost eliminated the weight of his briefcase and already in about 40% cases he uses a tablet, iPad in the lead, to facilitate his task.

Different speech in Italy, "where the use of electronic devices for scientific information is not foreseen by the legislation". This was stated to Pharmakronos by Carmelo Carnovale, national president of the Federation of drug sales representatives' associations (Federaisf). Although some companies "have already launched courses dedicated to ISFs to teach them how to use the iPad applications and to date, out of 20,000 informants in Italy, about 2,000 professionals use it - notes Carnovale - the Italian law does not mention the use of electronic means for our activity. Firstly, there is the problem of remote control which could derive from the use of tablets: article 4 of the Workers' Statute (law 300/70) prohibits the use of audiovisual systems and other equipment for the purpose of remote monitoring of the workers' activity.

If required by organizational needs, but the possibility of 'monitoring' can still derive from them, there is the possibility of using them only with prior agreement with the company union representatives". Furthermore, "all the paper material that we present to the doctors must be approved by the Ministry of Health - highlights Carnovale - therefore, even in the case of the iPad, specific authorizations should be had for the contents that are going to be shown".

On the other side of the ocean, however, a Manhattan Research survey found that 38% of drug sales representatives use a tablet for daily activity, with professionals from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck and Abbott at the forefront and specialists in general surgery and infectious disease among the most enthusiastic 'coats' of this innovation.

"The iPad - declares Monique Levy, vice president of Manhattan Research - is all the rage, thanks to the potential to give intelligent, agile support to sales conversations. Even if some details of the applications used in this sector could be improved".

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Fedaiisf Federazione delle Associazioni Italiane degli Informatori Scientifici del Farmaco e del Parafarmaco