Comment on Thick Prescriptions

Oldani’s piece on pharmaceutical sales tactics was not that surprising given what has been discussed in class thus far, but one thing that struck me was how similar the tactics are to other sales industries. I suppose the exception would be that the stakes are higher within pharma. There’s no room for complacency in the pharmaceutical sales industry; each rep is driven to be the best.

Relationship building in the pharmaceutical sales industry is different from other sales industries due to the professional nature of MDs and the trickle down effect from the reps to the MDs to their patients. Where as brand recognition and product uniqueness are strengths in other sales industries such as automotive or food products, the pharmaceutical industry is less dependant. Oldani has demonstrated that pharmaceutical sales reps can effectively convince MDs to prescribe their ‘me-too’ drugs through strategic gifting instead. We are left with the reality of potentially marginal products with   a strong emphasis on gifting. The irony is that such an approach may not survive in other non-pharmaceutical sales industries where product uniqueness is valued.

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