This is a blog for the Mental Health Policy Class at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work.

February 21, 2006

Donuts for doctors

"He found out which anti-depressant the doctors in the clinic seem to be favouring lately - Prozac - and why they aren't using his antibiotic - too expensive and hard to dose. Not a bad return for the price of a box of donuts. Now, is that why they call us detailers? he muses, as he records these items in his electronic scheduler, which contains a database of extraordinarily detail. In it are the likes, dislikes, and habits of specific physicians in his sales area, even down to such minutiae as the birthdays of the doctors' kids, and the kind of wine their spouses prefer - and, of course, what drugs they tend to prescribe."


Leslie said...

This reminds me of two stories. The first is a funny one from when I worked at a hospital. I noticed that doctors would sometimes graze through the food lines, eating up donuts and other snacks, then walk through the cashier line without paying, empty handed but full bellied. It made them look so silly!

The other is not so funny and is from an acquaintence of mine who is a drug sales person. She says that the "glory days" of entertaining doctors has been curtailed, but that they have been replaced with the hugely expensive ad campaigns we see on TV and in magazines. I also read somewhere that the drug company advertising expenditures far outweigh their research costs, by something like 2 to 1. I hope that I'm wrong about that.

Danny Wedding said...

Physicians HATE the direct to consumer advertising, and it is hard to say no to a patient who has become convinced that a "purple pill" or some such treatment is the optimal way to treat his or her disorder. Ironically, managed care has resulted in a situation in which physicians have little time to spend explaining why the patient DOESN'T need the drug in question . . . ususally it is simpler and faster to simply write the prescription. Drug companies know this.