How Big Pharma markets to doctors

From Slashdot | Drug Company Merck Drew Up Doctor “Hit List”

All Ex Cheerleaders (Score:5, Interesting)

by copponex (13876) on Saturday April 25, @04:01PM (#27715623)

A friend of mine was a rep for a larger company. She was an ex college cheerleader and they picked her up straight out of college, and with bonuses, she was making close to 80k in her second year. This didn’t include all the expenses her company paid for – car, housing, gas, expense accounts for taking clients to dinner. And according to her, she was not unique in her history as a cheerleader, or her pay grade.

I saw the analytical software she had to gauge her performance against others in her region. It was mind-boggling how much data she had, how many prescriptions had been written by which doctor, doctors who hadn’t purchased her brands yet, growth rates… and that seemed to be just the tip of the iceberg. But nowhere, nowhere did it tell her if patients had recovered or not, or if any of them had passed away. If they were dead, it was just the loss of one prescription.

She always talked about competing for growth rates, and the bonuses that it included. Basically, doctors who sold a lot of drugs were invited to gatherings in the Caribbean, expenses paid of course, where all of the top sales reps would also be enjoying the conference as well.

The whole thing was really sickening. I talked to one doctor that said he felt pressured to prescribe pills, not necessarily by the drug companies, but by his patients. They come in, malnourished, overweight, smoking, and not getting any exercise, and ask for help with their cholesterol. What he should tell them is that they need to stop smoking, prescribe an hour of exercise a day, and a new diet. Instead, he writes them a script, is one step closer to getting a free vacation, and his patients get to continue abusing themselves guilt free.

This is one of the many reasons we need to move to a system where the incentive is to keep people healthy instead of keeping them sick. As the baby boomers continue to age, this dogmatic adherence to the “free market” could quite possibly bankrupt us.

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