Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Samples, please

Ever the curious observer, I decided to spend a day in an industry I know nothing about: pharmaceutical sales. Rather than give a coherent narrative, I'll just impose order on my stream of consciousness via the ordered list.

1. Who is that dashing rep? In the interest of full disclosure, I didn't pick a random rep off the street to follow around for a day. James is my brother.

2. A negative view on the industry - If you're looking for a scathing critique of big pharma sales reps, you won't find it here. The era of reps taking doctors on ski trips is long gone. Honestly, if your doctor's judgement is being clouded by a monthly cookie and 2 minute chat, perhaps you should find a different doctor.

3. The word sales is used loosely here - Pharma sales reps don't close deals. There is no hard sale. Performance is measured by prescriptions written long after the rep is gone.

4. Costco has a secret police - Fancying myself as an artist, I considered doing a photo essay on my day. Unfortunately, our visit to Costco put a damper on my budding artistic aspirations (we were buying treats for doctors offices). Shortly after I walked in the store with the camera dangling from my neck, a 40 year old man wearing no insignia bluntly asked if I was taking pictures inside the store. His tone let us know that it wasn't OK. Ironically, I bought my camera from Costco weeks earlier.

5. What actually happens during a sale? Typically, we started by restocking the sample closet at an office. When a doctor became free, James would "detail" him on a recent study about one the drugs James is responsible for.

6. Is James like a Santa Claus for drugs? Yes. It's difficult to see in the above picture, but James is carrying a very large bag replete with nice samples.

7. How was the lunch break? As evidenced above, it was longish and entertaining.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

How do I get that job again?