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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Less schwag? How much less?

Just checked out a news article from The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA):

It seems that new regulations (regulations to which drug manufacturers may or may not voluntarily adhere) will limit the goodies that sales reps can give to MDs in their sales calls. Reps can still bring in small meals but are asked not to give mugs, pens, and other items that have no "educational value".

From the article, it seems that this is a consumer driven new policy. The idea being that patients go to their doctor and they see all the brightly colored tissue boxes, posters, and beanies with spinning tops (ok, I have no proof that reps are giving these out....) all with the logo of some fancy designer drug plastered on the side and begin to wonder if their MD has their best interest at heart or whether they are simply on the payroll for the Pharma companies. It is getting harder and harder to trust the good ole' doctor these days.

Overall the changes sound good but because the regulations are voluntary and sales reps are so clever at working around and bending the rules, it will be interesting to see if and how the landscape of pharmaceutical detailing changes in 2009. PhRMA will post a list of participating manufacturers on their website -- at least 3 biggies have already signed on. I would love to hear your comments on the topic.

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