Magazine article Medical Economics

Don't Slam the Door on Drug Reps

Magazine article Medical Economics

Don't Slam the Door on Drug Reps

Article excerpt

Years ago, pharmaceutical companies used to market directly to prescribing doctors, not on TV directly to patients, nor to insurance companies. Yes, I know it may seem far-fetched to doctors of a certain age, but it's true.

Pharmaceutical sales representatives (drug reps) came to each doctor's office to discuss their products. They would provide samples, information on new products and indications, research studies, and insurance information. All this discussed over a complimentary lunch for the doctor and his or her staff, too. What a great deal! In those days, drug reps often handed out things such as coffee mugs, tissue boxes, and pens.

The threat of new government regulations caused the pharmaceutical industry to phase out the giveaways in the early 2000s. Now, even the drug reps find themselves in jeopardy of going the way of complimentary pens.

"Authorities" said that drugs would become less expensive if pharmaceutical companies stopped marketing to physicians. Now that this marketing has slowed to a near standstill, have new branded drugs become cheaper? Nope.

This threat of additional government oversight caused drug manufacturers to fall on their swords. They are hemorrhaging jobs left, right, and center. They can no longer afford the lengthy and costly research to pass Food and Drug Administration muster and bring a product to the market.

What is happening to the American dream? My brother has been a drug rep for more than 10 years. He has a goodpaying job with benefits that are flexible and stable. …

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