Selling and Moving Knowledge

The line between what constitutes “sharing information” and constitutes “selling” is a line that seems to get thicker in Oldani’s portrayal of the doctor/rep relationship. He tells stories of before there was access to doctors prescribing statistics and doctors would frequently lie to get sales reps too leave them alone. Now that reps can anticipate the doctors each and every move, they give them no space to make their own decisions (unless it is the “right” decision.)

Since the differences between me-too drugs are so small, it seems difficult to see a sales rep believing in their product so adamantly that the smoother doctors with gifts and attention to get them to prescribe the “right” drug. If the rep was honestly sharing information, it seems hard to picture them pressuring doctors so much with a drug that has (realistically) negligible differences from the previous drug.

Oldani also briefly mentions that reps are trained to talk like medical professionals and learn the language of a doctor. They familiarize themselves with objections and how to promote benefits of the drug. Oldani also remarks that the reps actually have very little medical knowledge to share with the doctors. They learn to sound like they have knowledge but do not aim at legitimate knowledge. Both this and the fact that reps are so confident in drugs they know very little about make it more obvious that the exchange of knowledge is of little significance.

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