I do not hate drug reps. That being said, I understand that Maine is a whole different animal and maybe the reps are different here. I have been around long enough to remember the heyday of golf tournaments, expensive dinners, etc. Heck, I wrote the parody called Diary of a New Pharmaceutical Rep all by myself about 8 years ago and it spread virally around the internet. Even the NY Times quoted it. But the job of a drug rep has changed. There are so much less of them now and they can’t try and buy a doctor anymore. This is a good thing. Not allowing me to accept a pen, however, is just stupid but that is another story. Now that are only about 25% of them left (sounds like I am talking about an animal going extinct in the wild, right?) it is more manageable to sit down for 5 minutes and listen to their pitch. I only do this ONCE a day at around 3 PM so I do not take time away from patients. I think there is value in this. So what happened to the other 75% of reps? Some of them are now working for hospitals to make sales calls on doctors. Why? The hospitals want those docs, usually surgeons, to send their patients to that facility. Uh oh, this may be a problem. Reps are trained well. They are usually aesthetically pleasing (hospitals aren’t stupid) and they go after the doctors with the best insured patients. They mine data just like the drug companies did to find the target doctors. Read this article in the USA Today for more info. I understand why hospitals are doing this but there is something here that just doesn’t sit right with me. I sure wish they would reinvest their money into nurses so that their patient load is less instead of paying beautiful looking reps to flirt with doctors. Seems wrong.
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