I can recall, perhaps 20-25 years ago, hearing someone on the radio who mentioned paging through a magazine, in a Doctor’s office, and it revealed that pharmaceutical companies tend to hire good-looking Young Women, preferably former cheerleaders, to be sales representatives–calling on Doctors’ offices. The presumption was that attractive women, who were generally outgoing, bubbly and optimistic, would be more effective salespersons, and they would be ushered into Doctors’ inner sanctums much more quickly. That increases their time-efficiency.
Well, the sales practices of the pharmaceutical industry has recently been called into question. Today, Glaxo Smith-Kline, the British pharmaceutical giant, announced that it would no longer pay Doctors to promote it’s drugs. The linked article in the Huffington Post is as follows, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/17/glaxosmithkline-pay-doctors_n_4457286.html?view=print&comm_ref=false.
Now, I believe that there is a fine line between asking Doctors to provide expert explanations for what they have found makes particular prescription drugs effective in their Practices, and in what situations–as compared to someone who is merely shilling-for-cash. Whatever the industry, however, explanations by colleagues, rather than a scientist or analyst, who ventured out of their laboratories/offices, can certainly be much more “Real-Worldly”–and carry a lot more weight. Someone who’s been there-done that.
As a patient, however, you should certainly feel open to asking your Physician why She/He are recommending a certain prescription drug, and why this particular brand. Under most Drug Plans, generics are often used (assuming there is one), and the doctor would need to show why the branded prescription should be filled. So, more and more, the whole idea of using sales tools to sell particular prescription drugs may be moot.
NOTE: Although some Doctors might have a few less get-away vacations, I believe that the cheerleader jobs are still safe.