J-medicalnews: Pharmaceutical Selling in Canada

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 No Commented
Categorized Under: Health care

Love and Other Drugs, a film featuring Anne Hathaway and Jake Cyllenhaal, provides an amusing depiction of pharmaceutical sales reps. The first 20 minutes of this movie provide an unbelievably accurate portrayal on how I, along with my storm trooper drug representative colleagues, literally invaded doctors’ offices from the 1980s through 2002.

 

 

 

 

PHARMACEUTICAL SELLING

PHARMACEUTICAL SELLING

 

 

 

 

Drug representatives were allowed to invite medical doctors to musicals, sporting events and expensive dinners, all on the company dime. Many of the more aggressive drug reps would even purchase season passes to sporting events.

Pharmaceutical companies are known to have flown many medical doctors to Rome and other international travel destinations for two-week, all expenses paid vacations. In order to earn the trip, the doctor must achieve the status of highest prescriber for a particular drug. It makes me wonder what the difference is between an expensive gift and a bribe.

I entered the pharmaceutical industry in Canada website in the year 2001. In early 2002, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) passed new guidelines to prevent drug reps from engaging in extravagant entertainment, bribes and lavish gifts. Needless to say, medical doctors were saddened, though loopholes existed since PhRMA is a collective establishment of all the major pharmaceutical companies and . It makes me wonder if there is any irony that pharmaceutical companies manage the 3rd party organization responsible for regulating the ethics of their own sales and marketing practices.

From 2002 to 2006, I was allowed to provide medical doctors educational meals to present clinical data specific to the drugs I promoted. Technically, I was supposed to provide information regarding specific indications, safety profiles, drug-to-drug interactions and potential for withdrawal syndrome. I spent an average of $5.000 monthly, catering lunches to doctors’ offices and hosting dinners at 5-star restaurants for doctors and their significant others. When I asked my manager what my monthly budget limit was, her words were, “Spend until I tell you to stop.” She knew the more meals I scheduled with doctors, the more my Viagra Pills would be prescribed.

I was never told to stop, even after spending $10.000 one month. We ordered bottles of wine that exceeded $200 each, ate full course meals, and tasted novel desserts as grand finales to evenings of superficial rapport and witty banter. If the doctor had a pet dog, he ordered the organic, pasture raised pork chop to.

Despite the benefits, the pressures to meet sales goals were very high, requiring me to engage in a certain level of activity that was known to directly increase sales.