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The Future Of The Doctor-Drug Rep Relationship

Patient care is increasingly under third party control.  And as a consequence I make fewer decisions regarding the brand of medication used in my patients.

So the role of a pharmaceutical rep comes into question.  If I don’t choose which medication my patients will use, why would a representative call on me?  And as American medicine becomes more centralized and standardized, I wonder how and why industry will connect with treating physicians.  Pharma it seems is asking the same question: Of the core medications I prescribe, I see far fewer reps these days and our relationships are markedly different from a decade ago.

I don’t miss the pitch.  But I find the element of human support to be important.  For example, recently the FDA issued a black box warning for the concomitant use of Remicade and 6-MP.  My representative visited to be sure that I was aware of the changes in the product insert.  Sure the information was in my mailbox – along with 6 inches of pulp spam.  It’s basic attenionomics: I’m more likely to hear a person than a letter. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

Will Hospitals Who Ban Physicians From Paid Pharma Speaking Engagements Lose Employees?

Doctors have been coming under increasing scrutiny for their relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

Many hospitals and medical schools have outright banned any involvement of their physician staff with drug companies. This isn’t a contentious issue most of the time.

But a recent case at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital raised some eyebrows. Apparently, an asthma specialist was so dependent on drug company money, that he chose to quit the hospital instead. According to the Boston Globe, “Out of thousands of US doctors hired by drug-maker GlaxoSmithKline to talk about its products, [this physician] was the highest paid during a three-month period last year, the company recently disclosed: He made $99,375 for giving 40 talks to other physicians last April, May, and June, almost one every other day.” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*

Why Pharma Advertising Often Misses The Mark

The Pharmaceutical industry has effectively made a mockery of itself with television advertising (harsh assessment, I know, but bear with me). In the late 1980s – 30 years after television advertising was figured out – Pharma finally jumped into the game after regulatory constraints were lifted. Some of it worked – but mostly, the efforts just amplified the industry’s public relations comorbidities.

I actually believe that the industry could learn a few things in this video I came across. It’s a road safety advertisement and it brilliantly weaves together a simple idea with visual and emotional vigor. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Phil Baumann*

Who Follows Big Pharma On Twitter?

Do “normal” people – patients, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, life scientists, etc – follow Big Pharma on Twitter? I’ve long had a hunch that most of the followers (and by followers I mean people who are actually paying attention) of Pharma accounts are primarily consultants, marketers, PR pros, social media evangelists and others interested in Pharma’s use of the Web (including myself).

So I decided to gather the key words in the profiles of a select group of Pharma companies. I used the service TwitterSheep to generate tag clouds of these profiles. This isn’t a purely scientific approach, but it’s reasonable enough to provide some insight into whose following Pharma. My friends Silja Chouquet (@Whydotpharma) and Andrew Spong (@AndrewSpong) each provided great insight into Pharma and Twitter. You can read their posts here and here, respectively.

Based on the tag clouds, here are the top ten key words in the profiles of followers of selected Pharma companies: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Phil Baumann*

Doctors Fighting For Pharma Tchotchkes

In many countries, prescription drug advertising is banned, but pharma companies can still give little gifts to doctors. Now a Spanish blog covers, as reported by Advertising in Health, a lot of gadgets and gifts which sometimes are quite weird or have no functionality.

And if you think doctors are fed up with these, just take a look at the two videos below. The first one becomes interesting at 0:35.

Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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