Perilous pill pushing
It’s a good life as a medical rep. All you have to do is go on a training course and then persuade GPs to prescribe your drug – and there’s a free car thrown in! That’s the way it seemed to me, anyway, as I embarked on my first job as what the Americans call a “detail man”.
At the end of our training course we were dispatched to various parts of London to practise our trade on the unsuspecting General Practitioners of that city. So it was that I found myself in Kings Cross with my shiny new briefcase and a map showing the locations of all the GPs. Some would only see drug reps by appointment, but I found one who looked perfect. Doctor Rosenbaum’s surgery was in the centre of the district and he would see reps if they waited in the queue.
The main product we were promoting was an antibiotic, which could be quite profitable. Our Unique Selling Point, or USP, was safety. We had evidence to show that our drug would not harm the unborn child, and so could be prescribed to pregnant mothers (so could all the competitive products, but the trainers conveniently forgot to mention that to us).
The evidence comprised X-ray photographs of pregnant laboratory mice which had been given the drug, and showed that the foetus was unaffected in each case. Copies of these were displayed in plastic sleeves in a Nyrex folder which could be whipped out of the briefcase in seconds.