domingo, 22 de septiembre de 2019

Visitadores Médicos/Medical Reps..."de cine"

To my knowledge there are only two feature films* (versus documentaries) that have a pharmaceutical salesperson, or “drug rep” as the central character. " These films are Off-Label, an independent film from 2005, and Love and Other Drugs, released by a major studio in 2010.

Both films present intriguing portraits of the professional and personal lives of drug reps and, depending on one’s taste, are fairly entertaining. Both films ultimately present the moral quandaries that arise when working within the pharmaceutical industry, spiced up with the subplot of a ‘rep meets love interest who helps them see their way out of the business’. 
Yet, as a former drug rep myself (Pfizer, Inc., 1989 to 1998) turned medical anthropologist, I was drawn to how the movies chose to present the “culture” of pharmaceutical sales (Oldani, 2002), and in particular, how these  films shed light on the marketing of prescription drugs used for the treatment of mental health disorders.

Love and Other Drugs (2010) was written by the ex-Pfizer and Lilly rep, Jamie Reidy and the script was based in part on his 2005 book, "Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman".


Ratón de biblioteca: "Hard Sell: The evolution of a Viagra Salesman"

Love and Other Drugs was a big-budget film with “star power” casting Jake Gyllenhaal as the Pfizer rep “Jamie” and Anne Hathaway as “Maggie,” his lover: the film focuses heavily on their relationship. 

On the surface, Love and Other Drugs appears less critical of Big Pharma. In fact, the producers took full license to incorporate all things Pfizer into the movie – from the corporate logo to the products themselves (e.g., Viagra and Zoloft ). This also says something about the content of the movie – Love and Other Drugs represents being a male drug rep in the most positive light: cool, fun, and sexy. At its worst, it shows being a drug rep means dealing with managerial and corporate pressure to sell more drugs. 


Cinema Paradiso: Amor y otras drogas/Love and Other Drugs al fin se estrena...(en USA)

Side Effects presents a slightly different image of the drug rep. Karly, an attractive female rep works for a fictional company, Braden-Andrews (all the products are fictional as well), and is shown meeting with doctors, where she is distracted, unorganized, and ultimately ignored by them. 
 The movie begins (and returns at the end) with Karly having a kind of hysterical bodily reaction, where she is ripping off her business suit. 
The scene is hard to interpret – either she is having a mental breakdown or a laughing fit of total liberation and relief.


Cinema paradiso: Off-labell / Michael Palmieri & Dona Mosher

Nevertheless, the drug rep continues 
to be the everyday face of the industry 
– humanizing the exchanges and relationships 
that are necessary for the medical marketplace 
to function effectively and profitably.  

Both movies help to remind us that the true role of the drug rep is, and always has been, to forge kin-like alliances between doctors and themselves, and by extension, the pharmaceutical industry.  The role of the drug rep is often trivialized as just handing out plastic pens, an activity that is very easy to prohibit, legislate, and regulate (both by the government and the industry itself).
 However, Jamie and the high prescribing “Dr. Knight” exemplify the ultimate goal of drug reps: to develop deep social bonds with high prescribers. 
They develop what I like to describe as a “sales friendship,” a friendship based on a “win-win” corporate ethos, where both parties over time actually come to like one another because they end up getting what they both desire. Importantly, in a win-win situation both parties feel they are getting the better deal – gaining more out of the relationship than the other person (Applbaum, 2009). As a sales friendship evolves, reps and doctors will share stories, complain about colleagues, and even discuss intimate details of their lives.(Más)

Se les olvidó...este "sub producto"

El sexólogo (Memorias de un Visitador médico) / Luis M. Delgado

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