Drug Rep Confidential

Watch this revealing 4-minute interview with pharmaceutical company sales reps, courtesy of Pharmed Out, an “independent, publicly funded project that empowers physicians to identify and counter inappropriate pharmaceutical promotion practices”.  The voices have been distorted to protect the identities of the two drug reps chatting about what happens when they visit your doctor.

From rewarding heavy prescribers to off-label marketing (promoting a drug for conditions it has not been legally approved to safely treat), these two men offer an eye-opening yet disturbing take on ‘detailing‘ – what goes on behind closed doors.  

But as New Hampshire physician Dr. Kevin Pho writes in his medical blog KevinMD, there is another type of drug rep whose actions remain completely unregulated:

“These reps have unfettered access to the top academics of all fields of medicine, are invited by medical societies to give keynote addresses, routinely publish articles in the best journals, and offer advice about medications that is accepted as gospel by doctors everywhere. These reps have medical degrees, and some have become millionaires by taking fat payments from drug companies. The are “the hired guns of medicine”.

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4 thoughts on “Drug Rep Confidential

  1. WOW, like being a fly on the wall overhearing these comments. thanks so much for sharing this with those of us who until now have heard very little of what goes on behind the scenes – yet has the power to be influencing our very lives.

  2. Very disturbing. There’s only one reason that pharmaceutical companies hire armies of drug reps. It works to sell more drugs.

  3. “These reps have medical degrees, and some have become millionaires by taking fat payments from drug companies. The are “the hired guns of medicine…”

    Shocking collision of marketing and health care. This video is an eye-opener. Wow…

  4. And for the latest twist for drug reps:

    Former drug reps eyed to pitch physicians on referrals

    They’re called “physician liaisons or physician relations associates”

    They’re still salespeople.

    But The MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston demurred:

    “It’s not sales. Our approach and general philosophy in building relationships is educational — it’s to provide education about specific products and services, how to make a referral, how to sign up on our physician Web portal. Then once they make the referral, we’re the customer service people. We call it referral assistance.”

    (If it walks like a duck…….)

    “At Tenet’s November 2011 investor meeting, officials touted their physician relationship program and how they target the “sweet spot” for physician volume and referrals as happening between the ages of 40 and 50, with 5% of doctors driving 69% of net revenue. Tenet has 49 hospitals nationwide. Tenet Healthcare now has 152 ‘physician liaisons’.

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