Thursday, April 26, 2007

Drug Rep Rant Revisited

I took a lot of criticism from a number of different fronts following my post called Drug Rep Rant. Docs called me naive. Reps and former reps told me to get a life and be honest if I really wasn't interested in the product.

All good points. That post was written in a fit of emotion and non-logical thinking. I just love all the judgmental people out there who pretend to know all the answers and apply their utopian ideals to my little insignificant post. It was a snapshot in time and what I was feeling, and not necessarily what I usually do.

That being said, those who criticized me had some good points. The marketing tactics that are implemented are cold and calculated - at least according to an article from Reuters called, "Posing as pals, drug reps sway doctors' choices"
"Physicians underestimate their own vulnerability. They think they are smarter ... but they are not trained in recognizing this kind of manipulation," said Adriane Fugh-Berman, a Georgetown University Medical Center researcher and co-author of one of the studies.

"Reps scour a doctor's office for objects -- a tennis racquet, Russian novels, '70s rock music, fashion magazines, travel mementos or cultural or religious symbols -- that can be used to establish a personal connection with the doctor," Fugh-Berman and Ahari wrote.
These studies show what people have been telling me all along. Yes, drug reps have an influence and now there's the more data for people to prove their point. Ok, I get it.
"The remarkable thing is how effective a very brief visit by a drug representative -- most often less than five minutes -- can be in influencing physicians' choices to use a drug for an unapproved indication," Dr. Michael Steinman of the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center said in a statement.

Besides free drug samples, salespeople often bring gifts, lunch for the doctor or office staff, new pens and coffee mugs. "The doctor feels subtly, even subconsciously, indebted to the representative," Steinman said.
Maybe that's why more and more offices are banning reps from their offices. On one day here, there can be fifteen reps - maybe five from the same company spread throughout the day. That can be a lot of time that could be spent doing other things - like trying to tackle the endless paperwork on my desk.

What's the solution? I don't know. I'll think about it. I am feeling a little bit hungry after all this paperwork. What's for lunch today and who's bringing it?


twilite said...

Hi Dr A! Naive? Perhaps. If there were nasty criticisms and defensiveness on the part of pharmaceutical reps or other bloggers, then there must be some truth to your

Agreed wholeheartedly...reps do consume practitioner's time. As marketing tactics are becoming more subtle esp employing psychological tactics...

coaster1robert said...

I have a possible solution maybe AMA-should get involved and set limits how much doctors can receive from drug companies. that way drug companies can't buy a doctor off. Robert

Dr. A said...

The AMA does have policy on this issue. Read about it here.

Marilyn said...

These sound like pretty common sales tactics. The savy salesman knows that sales is all about relationships. I wouldn't expect doctors to be any more immune than the rest of us.

I don't even let the advertising salesmen finish the first sentence anymore. One sentence or two and I stare to LIKE the guy and then I'm feeling bad when I tell him no. It's really kind of sad from my perspective because in the truest sense, we're all selling something.

Anonymous said...

I would certainly hope that the medicines my doctor prescribes to me are prescribed because they are the BEST for my conditions and not because of some influence of a drug rep.

Right now I am on 5 different things regularly. When he added the fifth, he said.."and this one has a generic, so it will save you some money". I appreciated the thoughtfulness greatly. muddy