The rule of seven touches

Dr. Atul Gwande tells the story in his New Yorker column of asking a pharmaceutical rep how he persuades “notoriously stubborn” doctors to adopt a new drug he’s promoting.  The rep’s response:

“Evidence is not remotely enough, however strong a case you may have. You must also apply the rule of seven touches.”

“Personally ‘touch’ the doctors seven times, and they will come to know you; if they know you, they might trust you; and, if they trust you, they will change.”

That’s why, explained Dr. Gwande, this drug rep stocked doctors’ closets with free drug samples in person.  Continue reading

Big Pharma’s remarkable powers of persuasion

Do you know why product demonstrators at the grocery store give you those tempting little free food samples when you’re out shopping on your way home for dinner?  It’s because manufacturers and retailers know that free samples result in significantly increased sales. They simply wouldn’t be doing this if it didn’t work to boost results. The food business is not doing charity work – their goal is to make more money.  This free sample strategy is based on a sociological concept calledthe rule of reciprocation.

It’s also the same concept that pharmaceutical companies rely on when they offer your doctors financial incentives – and even those free drug samples.   Continue reading

Fewer physicians are now agreeing to see drug reps

What seems like very good news for those of us concerned about the too-cozy relationship between Big Pharma and our physicians is being viewed with alarm by the drug industry-funded website Policy & Medicine, whose motto is “Supporting Innovation Through Collaboration”.

This is a CorporateSpeak tagline that’s roughly translated as:

“We Put Doctors On Our Payroll So They’ll Flog Our Drugs For Us”

According to Policy & Medicine, a recent U.S. study is “troubling” for both patients and physicians.  Oddly enough, as a heart attack survivor and consumer of a fistful of cardiac meds every morning, I am not remotely “troubled” by this study’s results.  In fact, I’m considerably cheered up.  Here’s why:   Continue reading