CafePharma is a forum where reps, past and present hang out and discuss all aspects of the job. It's a free reign to discuss matters that piss them off the most.
An interesting thread was posted inviting readers to discuss what it was like being a rep for GSK between 1984 to the present date.
This is eye-opening. (Grammatical errors have been left in)
I began working in the industry 30 years ago, when it was easy, easy to bribe docs to use your drug, easy to make money, easy to do whatever you wanted to do. The stories I could tell you... For example:I didn't give a shit how smart or stupid a doctor was. I was given a territory that belonged to me in which to sell my product, and within that territory there were smart doctors, there were good doctors, and there were honest doctors, but the ones that I made a much better than average living on were the busy doctors that didn't give two shits about their patients -- and wanted something from me. On the books we all followed the rules; we had usual and appropriate expenses to do our job, but the reality was that we did what we had to do to sell our drug. Thursday was a usual night out for me with Dr. What he lacked in medical knowledge was more than made up for by his street smarts. He knew how to play the game and we did well by each other. He wrote tons of prescriptions and in return I gave him tons of samples that I later learned he sold to patients, and other perks.On paper we were having a round table discussion on some medical topic with a bunch of doctors, but in reality it was a night out with Dr who brought along his brother, his barber, his accountant, and a few of his other buddies. Including. the $1,000 fee for Dr ( for a talk that he, understandably, never gave) the night cost me almost $2,000 dollars -- well worth it because the following week I counted over 30 new prescriptions for my product. Oh I didn't tell you, but most big pharmaceutical companies purchase a list from a company that monitors doctor's prescriptions. It tells them exactly how many prescriptions a doctor writes for each product. If you think this sounds crazy, the next week he told me to go to his favorite restaurant, leave my credit card there , and he would take care of the rest – which he did by running up a tab for another two grand. Dont think for a moment the big shot doctors werent whores too; don’t be naive. Some of these assholes are bigger whores than Dr and they make a shit-load more money for their services. I get a call from my manager, Dr a big time professor of Medicine, who was part of the FDA board that approved our drug, is coming to town to give talks to the doctors in the area. At $3,000 dollars a night and another $3,000 to give a talk in the local hospitals each day, this elite doctor can take home $30,000 dollars in a week’s time. Hey, Dr just got a thousand bucks once or twice a month and free meals for himself and his buddies.I've taken docs to strip clubs,. Who hasnt? But I found a nice long massage, with happy ending, was far more cost effective, and I enjoyed it much more as well. Again, the people that run these places are not stupid, they accept American Express and the services aren’t billed to Mrs. Wong's massage palace. They usually have some kind of restaurant Doing Business As name. Anyway, as you can see. I've got so many I could write about but the one that always comes to mind is the following.
The poster continued with...
I called on one particular doctor for years and I guess we even became friends. It's hard to say what a friend is in this business because every good rep knows that if you get a doctor to like you then the doc is more likely to write scripts. This guy was really weird and claimed to be a general in the military reserve. He was a great customer until about a year ago when he claimed his practice had slowed down, but I learned that day that this married doctor was banging a rep and that that rep was my competition. Not only was he having sex with her, he was writing lots of scripts for her product, paying for her apartment, and the lease on her car.But now he needed me, and sadly, he called one of his only friends (again I still am not sure if I was truly a friend of his or just a savvy salesperson). He needed me to drive him to her house (his seventy-thousand dollar car would be too conspicuous) to see if she was home with someone else. We drove to an area in the Bronx, NY, to an area that was quite intimidating, especially since it was 2:00 A.M., and the few people who were out walked with ataxia from whatever they had smoked or injected or drank that day.She lived on the second floor, just ten feet or so above the sidewalk, her windows barred to discourage unwanted visitors. You could almost see through the window from across the street. He was too afraid to go to the door, as was I, and so he called her number, no one answered. I wanted to go home, to get out of there before some NYC cop arrested us for soliciting drugs or something (who else would be parked at this hour in an Acura) but instead Dr. S opened a small case he had brought with him, and strapped what turned out to be night vision goggles to his head. He claimed it was a gift from an Iraqi general. He called his paramour several more times and watched through his goggles until he saw the image of a man get up and walk to the window. Case Closed. This doctor who cheated his patients, his wife, his children, and even me, was himself a victim.
For me, this sums up the collaboration with GSK and the FDA...
"I get a call from my manager, Dr a big time professor of Medicine, who was part of the FDA board that approved our drug, is coming to town to give talks to the doctors in the area. At $3,000 dollars a night and another $3,000 to give a talk in the local hospitals each day, this elite doctor can take home $30,000 dollars in a week’s time."
The whole thread, which can be viewed here, shows how Glaxo reps got doctors to prescribe more of their drugs.