A day in the life of a drug rep

Early in my employment history, I temped in the clerical/reception areas at a couple of hospitals. I quickly became familiar with the Drug Reps – immaculately dressed, usually young people who really wanted to hobnob with our physicians and were willing to give you free pens if you’d help them get in touch.

I’ve wondered, since then, about what the drug rep career entails, exactly. I know its essentially a sales position, but the reps I saw seemed to be generally even better groomed and more charismatic than other sales folk I’ve known. (Although I don’t know tons.)

Are there any good accounts of “my life as a drug rep,” or “the complete idiot’s guide to becoming a drug rep,” or shocking exposes of drug rep madness? What’s the burnout rate? What’s the salary like? Job perqs? Stresses?

(Note: drug reps aren’t (I gather) very popular, and it may in fact be a subnoble profession, but I’m not fishing for nasty putdowns.)

(Also note: I have absolutely no ambition to become a drug rep, however tantalizing the salary may be.)

My girlfriend once had to wait an extra 30 mins to see her doc because of one. The receptionist told the reps that they COULD NOT see him today, he had ALOT of patients to see. They “left” and snuck in a back door and talked to him for quite a while.

I’m not a drug rep, but I’ve had to deal with them before. On one hand, I respect them b/c they have to do a lot of study on products before they introduce it to a buyer. They not only have to know about the drug itself, but when it’s interactions with other drugs. From what I’ve seen, they can make lots of money, but they work hard. Plus, they give you stuff if you ask. On the other hand, like any other sales rep, they can be very annoying. They pop in unexpectedly with nothing new to contribute and expect to see you. I find myself asking the staff to make excuses that I’m “out” if I see them approaching.

Drug reps are the pretty faces in front of the ugly pharmeceutical companies.

The pharmcos are constantly introducing new, more expensive and a (capable of) more widely distributed drug.

They spend big bucks to lobby state medical boards on new pharm. treatments then send the reps in to the private sector to talk them up, look good and ‘push’ the drugs.

PERFECT EXAMPLE ----Serotonin inhibitors. There is a huge drug war right now surrounding these - i.e. Zoloft, Paxil, etc. They are being used as ‘wonder drugs’ and being used to treat everything from chronic pain, depression, sleep disorder, anxiety, etc.

Lobbiests for the drug co’s have actually won their battle and RIGHT NOW, IF YOU go to the doctor with a back ache, trouble sleeping, or a plethora of any other ailment, you will most likely get a serotonin inhibitor.

I won’t keep going on about this, sorry to get off the subject a bit,…anyway, drug reps? Well, they’re just puppets. The Drug Co’s like them to be good schmoozers though.

Drug reps… aren’t they the unabashedly obsequious todies that butter up doctors with pens, free lunches, and paid “seminars” at the Plaza? :wink:

My doctor gets a ton of free samples from her reps. Instead of prescribing a drug, she’ll usually give you a bag full of the samples.

I have a few friends who are pharmaceutical reps. They are all quite attractive, and great schmoozers. Their jobs are essentially to take doctors out to expense account meals and push their company’s drugs, while staying well informed about the benefits/interactions/etc of new medicines. A medical background is definitely not required, as two of the ones I know had business and psychology degrees. They make good money, starting with a salary in the neighborhood of $55-60,000. For that reason, the application process for the jobs is incredibly competitive.