I saw a pharmaceutical representative today. I haven’t seen one in 5 years. This one is insatiable, dropping by and begging for an audience and wanting an appointment, so I decided to see him before the day began.  I hope he gets some brownie points with his boss for this accomplishment.  He gave his presentation and I asked a few questions.  He was a good looking man, so I wasn’t paying too much attention to what he was saying anyway.

I felt sorry for him, for he has to push two products that are “brand name” varieties of medications long time available in generic form. Neither medicine is pleasant to take; both have “cleaner” alternatives.

He was asking me to prescribe things almost certain to cause sedation, weight gain, sexual side effects, and hair loss – and you pay far more for it.  Any takers?

I don’t see “pharm reps” for a variety of reasons. First of all I don’t have the time. They tend to ‘drop in’, and schmoozing with them means stopping my already busy day to do so. I keep abreast of the news, so I don’t have to learn about Rx from them as some doctors do.

Reps can’t tell me anything I really want to know (such as off-label uses). And I don’t work with samples. So I don’t see any point in having them stop by.

In the end they are salesmen, trying to sell me things I already have or don’t want.

It must be a hard job. Like flight attendants, they have to be continually cheerful even when doctors are ill mannered to them.  They have to travel around, and I suspect the pay isn’t too good.  There is a lot of bad PR nowadays of what pharm reps can/can not do to push a product. In the ‘good old days’ they would give pens, pads, even lunches – that breed died out just as I was coming on board to Medicine.

So I try to be always especially nice to them, out of empathy for anybody with a high stress job in the service industry. I hope I am particularly nice by not seeing them, and not wasting their time.

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