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Pharma Rep Playbook - 4 Minutes with Doctors = 52% Jump in Scripts Written...

I want all of our employees to have the medical care they need.  Let's start there before anyone brands me as a fiscal hawk looking at numbers rather than employee well-being...

If there's one area of Medical care that drives me crazy, it's got to be big Pharma vs. doctors, patientsLevitra, and yes, your local company medical plan. 

Big Pharma gets paid off of blockbuster drugs that they hold exclusive rights to.  That part of the system I get, since there are development costs tied to the R&D effort.  It's the repackaging of brand name drugs, once generics are available, that drives me crazy.  Hey, why take that generic every day?  We've just revamped the brand name equivalent with enough potency to last 5 days.   Uh, yeah... It'll cost your medical plan $1,000 more per year, but who cares?  Your employee contribution is the same regardless.

In case you needed more examples of the power of the Pharmaceutical Rep over most doctors, consider this article in a recent BusinessWeek entitled "Just Say No to Drug Reps":

"Dr. Adriane Ugh-Beman wishes more doctors would greet marketing pitches from drug companies with skepticism. So she is taking her message to medical schools. An associate professor of physiology and biophysics at Georgetown University, she has spent the past six months lecturing med students at Georgetown and neighboring schools on how to resist sales reps' overtures, such as doling out free drug samples to physicians and bringing lunches for office staff.

Often, the audience starts out belligerent, Ugh-Beman says, protesting that they're "too smart to be bought by a slice of pizza." But that changes when "we correct them with the numbers," she says. A doctor who spends just one minute with a sales rep typically ends up prescribing 16% more of that rep's product than he or she was prescribing before. And a four-minute encounter is likely to prompt a 52% jump in prescriptions, says Ugh-Beman."

I didn't dig around on the net for the white-paper behind Ugh-Berman's claims, but I am assuming if it made BW, it's legit research.

Let's assume programs like this can prepare doctors for the drug rep pushing product.  No sweat to Big Pharma, because they've got an even more powerful marketing tool.   It's called the demands of their patients after watching 20 Pharma ads every night during American Idol... What's a busy M.D supposed to do when someone brings him an ad for Paxil during a routine visit?  Prescribe (gasp) exercise? 

Every seen a Viagra ad?   All they have to do is create a market with a couple of Billion dollars worth of ads, and all of a sudden the pressure is on to pick up the full tab for each new class of drugs that's introduced... 

Man, am I tired of scrambling for the remote during a basketball game on the weekend or during prime time when the Viagra ads come on (hello? kids are watching when these things run!).  But those guys throwing the football sure are accurate throwing it through that tire in the back yard... 


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