The future of the pharmaceutical sales rep

Adriene Hill Dec 17, 2013
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The future of the pharmaceutical sales rep

Adriene Hill Dec 17, 2013
HTML EMBED:
COPY

‘Detail men’ are sales reps who sell doctors on new drugs. They became a fixture in the mid-20th century, when federal laws first started requiring prescriptions for some drugs.

“You have the creation of the prescription-only drug at exactly the time the pharmaceutical industry is transforming into innovative patent-protected medicines,” says Jeremy Greene, a medical historian at Johns Hopkins University.

Pharmaceutical companies realized doctor’s prescription pads were the funnels to drug sales.

“And all of this,” Greene says, “puts an increased emphasis on not just having salesman, but having a trained detail man — and they were almost all men in the mid-20th century — have a trained detail man that you could put into the doctor’s office.”

Greene says initially these detail men were nervous about teaching doctors how to do their job. 

That changed.

Drug reps, men and women, became fixtures at doctors’ offices. You know, the often attractive folks, waiting purposefully in a room of sick people.

These days, the job is changing again. Doctors aren’t the funnels to drug sales they once were.

“Physician autonomy over prescribing has been decreasing over time,” says Ernst Berndt, a health economics professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Benefit managers make more of the calls about what drugs you’ll get. Now, pharmceutical companies have to make their case to health plans, not just doctors.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.