Do today's doctors really need pharmaceutical reps?
David Griffith looks at how drugs are marketed to the medical profession—and to the consumer—today
It is impossible to condone some of the behaviour described in the preceding article. There was a time when drug companies used to lavish enormous expense on doctors with such items as luxury trips abroad to exotic locations for conferences of very dubious educational benefit. Thankfully this time has largely passed, but there is still a culture evident in which free—sometimes very tacky—gifts and “hospitality” at company expense are sought. If the seekers were poor people this would be a sad sight, but the fact that they are people earning large sums of money makes the whole business particularly unattractive. And “business” is very much the key word here. The prime role of drug company representatives is to sell their company's product, and drug companies would have dropped them long ago if they were not very successful in achieving this.
Apart from all the medical knowledge you—tomorrow's doctors—have to soak