The glory of capitalism and Big Pharma

Original Title: The glory of capitalism

Here’s a little story, which I swear is true.

It is a little-known fact that pharmaceutial companies employ fleets of salespeople in countries where drugs are paid for by governments. You may think that when you go to see a doctor and he prescribes you something that his prescription is based purely on his professional knowledge, but this is not the case.

In the UK, doctors are visited regularly by people from drug companies who hand out stationery with their product name on, and spend time ‘educating’ them about the latest advances in their field. Their job is to persuade doctors to prescribe their products rather than a competitor’s. I saw an estimate recently that marketing costs account for twice as much of a drug’s cost as the development does.

There are regulations and codes of conduct in place to ensure that nobody actually bribes anyone, but all the same… Drug companies spend a lot of money to ensure that they sell more drugs than they would otherwise. They wouldn’t do this if it didn’t affect people’s behaviour.

My one and only visit to Ireland was as ‘Dr Loretta’ attending a conference sponsored by a big pharma company. They had made the mistake of entrusting the guest list to someone who wanted my body, so suddenly I was a psychiatrist!

Anyway, sales people have targets to reach and these are reviewed annually. If you exceed your target then next year you have to do better. If you just reach your target then you get your bonus and next year’s target will be more attainable.

One year this led to an interesting situation that I would like to share. A sales team reached its tarrget in mid-December and the sales manager was worried that next year’s target would be increased. So the company stopped shipping drugs.

The sales staff spent the next two weeks phoning around pharmacies and hospitals, trying to obtain surplus stocks of drugs that they could transfer to the places that needed them most urgently. They had effectively created a shortage in order to maximise their own benefit.

I never found out whether anyone actually died because the drug they needed was unavailable, but it seems like a crazy way to do business. Apparently this is perfectly normal, and everyone does it.

Does it happen in Taiwan too?

Taiwan’s even worse 'cause there’s no laws to limit it like there are at home, nor are there any of those laws like some states have where the pharmo is required to tell you that a generic form of your prescription is available, etc.
3 of my first ever privates in Taiwan were Sales Reps for one of the super huge global pharmaceutical firms.
was play golf with doctors, and go to piano bars with doctors.
I’m not kidding, that’s all these guys did.
And then the doctors would be convinced to prescribe that one dude’s version of whatever the drug was.
And you know how Taiwan Docs love to give out lots of meds…

Isn’t that how doctors here make their money?

Well, no, it isn’t, the only thing that the reps CAN’T do in Taiwan is give cash.
But both here AND all over North America, at least, the amount of schwag thrown at Doctors by pharmacorps is staggering, including, like, golf trips to Palm Springs and Mexico, all as inducement to push their own brands.

You can see how bad Big Pharma is by the way these days most people die young and painfully of a disease that only 100 years ago would be totally treatable.

Knew a guy back in Montreal with a pharma business.
He hired a lot of beauty queens to shmooze the docs.
Miss Tennessee was particularly hot.

One of my first privates here worked for Aventis.
Sooooo fine. Yummy.

Nice biz.

Not exactly true folks…

  1. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is being enforced which mean that all US listed or operating company cannot give any payment or benefit in kind to a foreign government official in exchange for influence or favor. The definition of a foreign offical is very broad so that doctors in government run hospitals would be and even doctors in a single government payor system (like Taiwan) could be considered a government official.
  2. The US and the EU have enacted Health Care Compliance regulations which limit what kinds of benefits doctors can receive, studies they can participate in…etc…even what kind of venue they can stay in for a medical conference.

In addition, US & to a lesser extent EU firms must take responsibility for the ethical behavior of their distributors i.e. no “white gloves”.

Penalties are swift and terrible.

Not daying there aren’t ways & means around these rules…but the rules have changed dramatically in the last 5yrs.

They had made the mistake of entrusting the guest list to someone who wanted my body, so suddenly I was a psychiatrist![/quote]

Medical science?

Diagnosis following prescription? Depression didn’t used to exist, medically. Because people were happy?

They’re not allowed to pay cash, but they’ll do pretty much anything else to get a sale from a doc or hospital. There are people on this site who are in that dirty business right up to their tits, too – its a completely unethical business. Completely. I make a lot of money on the backs of these drug peddlers, though, so I don’t complain – Pfizer’s paying for my next trip home. I just take their money and SMILE, baby, SMILE! :laughing:

Maybe you could ask them to buy you some boots?

True A) Had an old lady friend (she used to be a friend of my grandmother) who was complaining about having to spend 80 dollars on fancy antacids, but the doc said there was not a generic and she had to have them. Turns out, they were prescription strength tums and she could have simply chewed two tums instead of one. This woman was in her late 80’s and on a very fixed income with almost no living family left.

True B) Have a friend who’s a pediatrition. I can’t count the times I’ve heard him rant about drug companies who provide free trips to disney land for doc.s who prescribe x number of scrips for whatever drug they’re pushing. Sick kids paying fora doctor’s trip to disney land, or Cancun, or where ever. Or new golf clubs. Or whatever.

True C) Have a friend who dates a guy who works for a large durg company. He flies all over the world, including Taiwan, getting people to buy the drugs his company sells. He makes more than twenty eight thousand dollars a month. Plus, of course, the package, housing, health (great drug plan, ha!), all the cool stuff. And, apparently, there are plenty in the company who make a lot more than him. Hard to immagine people dying cause they can’t afford a drug when there’s this much money tied up in the sale of the drugs.

Why do you think the drugs are so expensive?

Why do you think the drugs are so expensive?[/quote]

:doh: Yeah. That was my point. New boots a little tight? :stuck_out_tongue:

They’re on his head?

I’ve hear some things, so that wouldn’t suprise me. Good circulation is important for good brain oxygenation, though, no matter where he’s put his boots.

They likely can do that because you’re not a health care professional. But,the trip must be related to some specific service that you are providing. If your wife is, then Pfizer is violating the HCC regulations since you’re a spouse, and therefore cannot receive any travel or other items or benefits in kind. Behavior like housecat mentioned for b could be true some time in the past, but would now be subject to prosecution.