Sunday, January 14, 2007

RAH-RAH FOR BIG PHARMA

I came across a link in Orac’s blog (yes, it is occasionally of interest) to a post in the eDrug blog, about the fact that quite a few pharmaceutical reps just happen to also be cheerleaders for professional sports teams. In fact, the post names the “All Pharma Cheering Squad,” and adds that there are undoubtedly quite a few more cheerleaders who double as legal drug pushers.

I’ve been been around doctors for quite some time, and I’ve known some pharmaceutical reps in the past who seemed to know their business. But more recently I’ve noticed that an extraordinarily high percentage of drug reps seem to be extremely attractive and bubbly. But surely, you say, doctors could not be influenced to choose pharmaceutical products simply because they find the salesperson appealing; surely they would look at the data underlying the company’s boasts about the product’s efficacy and safety, wouldn’t they? Puhleeeze: we’re talking about a group of people who, in shocking numbers, believe that the astonishing rise is autism over the last couple of decades can be explained by better awareness and changing diagnostic guidelines, and that the Verstraeten study actually proves there is no connection between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism.

Physicians tend to be busy souls who do not have the time to look beyond the surface. They’ll take at face value the pronouncements of sources they have deemed credible: the centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and that cute cheerleader from the local team. Sometimes the simplest of appeals works.

4 Comments:

Blogger Ian Parker said...

It's posts like this that show the inherent bias of those of you in the anti-cheerleaders-in-medicine-militia.

Come on Wade, whatever happened to visualdiversity? Many cheerleaders have helped enhance the stature of their profession, and can bring this valuable experience to the pharmaceutical industry too, if given the chance. Bambi and Amber deserve the same opportunities as any other visual minority. The next time you see a cheerleader, put away your prejudices and really look at the person in front of you.

1/15/07, 3:40 PM  
Blogger Wade Rankin said...

I'm a great believer in self-improvement, so I thank you, Ian, for pointing out my prejudice to me. I note that one of the young ladies profiled in the eDrug post has a BS in chemistry, and I'm sure that was the primary reason she was hired. And it would be wrong to imply that only pretty young cheerleaders are marketing pharmaceuticals. See here for the rest of the story.

1/15/07, 6:32 PM  
Blogger Ian Parker said...

When I think of Chip 'N Dale I still think of the two chipmunks. I guess that they are equally qualified to be pharmaceutical reps.

Besides, they can add some zip when they sing that Viagra song - "Zippidy Do Dah, Zippidy Yay..."

1/17/07, 10:17 PM  
Anonymous anonimouse said...

So, in other words - just because pharmaceutical companies hire pretty girls to sell their products that means that their products are inherently defective?

I guess all of the testing and research that is done is facilitated by these same cheerleaders, huh? And the peer review? Cheerleaders probably go to the review committees of these journals and soften them up. Oh yeah, the FDA and CDC...it's all about cheerleaders.

Here's an idea, Wade. Maybe doctors listen to the CDC or the AAP because they ARE credible. That might not jibe with your worldview that Big Pharma went Big Tobacco on us with thimerosal, but it's a pretty reasonable counterargument.

1/25/07, 4:44 PM  

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