Anyone who has ever sold a pharmaceutical product will tell you that there are plenty of rep hating physicians out there. From my days in the field I can certainly think of a few…but let’s not name names. You know those doctors who dismiss you with a look of disgust or simply ignore that you are even in their office until you become so fed up that you leave. Or the doctors who feel it necessary to challenge everything you say, with pure hatred in their voice, trying to figure out your level of product knowledge so they can try to “get you” on something. In large part I would say that at least in my own experience, the physicians I have called on were kind and receptive, and even open to learning something new about a product in an effort to give their patients better care. However, with that said, I contend the physicians that are dismissive, mean, or even too smug to think that they can possibly learn something from a representative are potentially not giving their patients the care that they deserve. These rep hating physicians are potentially bad doctors!!
Anyone who is in any industry certainly understands that innovation brings new ideas. Fresh thinking and human ingenuity find ways to do things better and more efficiently. The organizations that govern most industries even understand this concept…the concept of; we don’t know everything, so we are going to be open to listening to new ideas. The organizations that govern many industries show this openness to new ideas and fresh thinking by requiring their professionals to get continuing education credits. Lawyers are required to gain continuing education credits, mechanics are required to get continuing education and I am sure so many other industries require it of their professionals as well. Typically it is on a state-to-state basis in terms of requirements, and we also know that physicians are not exempt from these types of requirements. Many physicians get their continuing medical education (CME’s) by going to conventions and sitting through seminars and such. I have actually worked many of these conventions representing the pharmaceutical companies I have worked for through the years. So it is with this in mind that I ask; “why are there some physicians out there that think that a representative cannot give them any good information that can assist them in treating patients”? Do they not see value you in continuing education on new products? Do they not believe that innovation in the pharmaceutical product world is possible.
This bring us to another analogy. The idea of branded products versus generics. Many times a branded product will come out that is classified in the same class as other similar products. Many of the other products in that class may already be generic. So physicians basically believe and verbalize to reps that their new branded product that is in the same class as similar generics is what is called a “me too” medication that brings no new value. They tell representatives, “I don’t need your product”. This couldn’t be further from the truth and really small minded thinking. It is a fact that each product in a given class of medications has subtle differences and potentially acts on each and every human being differently. This fact begs physicians to open their minds and ears to representatives to understand the subtle differences and how to apply newly branded medications. Shamefully the FDA plays a part in this too as they require so much compliance ridden vernacular to be conveyed that even stating the subtle differences can land a representative in hot water or even initiate large fines for companies. With both analogies, innovation, fresh thinking, and ingenuity are lost….and for no good reason. This leads to an environment where patients are not getting the best possible care. To further the point, the media in many cases exacerbates the situation by making the general public believe that generic medications can solve every problem out there.
Getting back to the subject (rep hating physicians), this is akin to basically saying the following:
- “I don’t care about the subtle differences in medications and what value they may bring to my patients”
- “Every medication out there is good enough to treat my patients”
- “I don’t believe in innovation or ingenuity”
Here is a better way to look at it. If you are a race car driver and a new type of efficient fuel comes out that may increase miles per gallon, decrease emissions, and increase horsepower. Wouldn’t you be willing to listen to the representative of the innovative organization that invented this new fuel? Or would you say, “there is already fuel invented…I don’t need to hear about this new fuel”? Or, if you were a football player and a new type of helmet was invented that may protect your head more efficiently, was lighter, and had a new face mask that allowed for better peripheral vision, wouldn’t you be open to listening to the representative of the organization that invented this new helmet? Or, would you say “I already have a helmet…no thanks”! This is basically what rep hating physicians are doing and saying every single time they treat a representative with disrespect and close their minds to listening.