The Electric Commentary

Monday, November 28, 2005

Drug Dealing Cheerleaders!

Pharmaceutical companies are recruiting cheerleaders to become salespeople. Here's the best line of the article:

Known for their athleticism, postage-stamp skirts and persuasive enthusiasm, cheerleaders have many qualities the drug industry looks for in its sales force.

Apparently the government has been cracking down on "free gift" inducements from the drug companies, forcing them to resort to attractive women to gain a competitive edge:

But now that federal crackdowns and the industry's self-policing have curtailed those gifts, simple one-on-one human rapport, with all its potentially uncomfortable consequences, has become more important. And in a crowded field of 90,000 drug representatives, where individual clients wield vast prescription-writing influence over patients' medication, who better than cheerleaders to sway the hearts of the nation's doctors, still mostly men.

We also get this interesting tidbit:

One informal survey, conducted by a urologist in Pittsburgh, Dr. James J. McCague, found that 12 of 13 medical saleswomen said they had been sexually harassed by physicians. Dr. McCague published his findings in the trade magazine Medical Economics under the title "Why Was That Doctor Naked in His Office?"

What a sordid business. Something to think about next time your doctor prescribes a drug for you.

(Hat tip, Jodi)


  • Of course, this is still better than direct-to-consumer drug marketing, right?

    By Blogger dhodge, at 10:54 AM  

  • Actually I'm ok with that, but I'd be more OK with it if they started sending cheerleaders door to door.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 11:08 AM  

  • They might be particularly adept at diagnosing a need for Viagra door to door.
    Seriously, what sells sells and I am not suprised. I am more concerned with the overall focus on potential sales ability rather than background knowledge for the product. Is it really in the public's best interest to send pharmaceutical sales reps out who haven't even taken basic chemistry or biology? If a sales rep can only spout basic lines about the product does the doctor have any real ability to learn about the product in a meaningful way? Doctors are crunched for time and cannot research every drug on their own. Are the drug co's going to make it so we have to start licensing their sales reps (or more stringently)? (I know there are serious detriments to regulation.) Realitors have a tough licensing test don't they?
    Or is this just the media blowing things out of context? To be honest, I'm sure this story runs on an undercurrent of sentiment that such hiring and advantages for cheerleader types isn't fair, but the reality is that people have all kinds of natural advantages and their is little that can be done about it (or perhaps even should for efficiency's sake). Perhaps no matter how much the reps know the majority of doctors should be reading the pamphlets and looking at the studies. It's too bad the media is incentivized by attracting attention by making things sound controversial instead of looking at the real situation. That is probably one reason blogs are so popular.

    By Anonymous Scott, at 11:53 AM  

  • Totally off-topic, but the headline of this post reminded me of Cannibal Cheerleaders on Crack. The solution to this problem is of course to shed all of your blind faith and/or misguided paranoia regarding the wisdom of medical science professionals and approach all medical decisions with a touch of informed skepticism. Since that will never happen, I don't see the cheerleader system of drug promotion is any better or worse than the steak dinner system of drug promotion.

    By Blogger dhodge, at 12:33 PM  

  • These are obviously not psychiatric pharmaceuticals we are talking about.

    If they were, they would need a woman more like me... the anti-cheerleader.

    "You know that gaping soul-hole people get from never having their father's approval? Wellbutrin can help."

    "Husband a total psychopath? That's valium."

    "General pain of existence? Codeine."

    Rah, rah, rah. Sis boom bah!!!

    (Actually, I avoid drugs. But only because I love them.)

    By Blogger Gypsy Rose, at 1:15 PM  

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