Friday, May 06, 2005

Get a Load of Those Gams!

"A group of Congressmen publicly released a set of pharma company sales documents yesterday. The House Committee on Government Reform published the Merck documents, obtained last year during the Vioxx investigation, on its website. For healthcare providers, especially physicians, there is some interesting reading here on pharma marketing strategies. Details revealed include the length of a time a rep is supposed to shake hands (three seconds) and how one is to eat when dining with a physician. Also covered: what to say if a physician asks you if the health risks associated with your product is overblown." -
Fierce Healthcare

If my cursory glance at a *single* document is any indication, Merck is going to be either raked over the coals or ridiculed for a long, long time.

Just look at page 2 of the "Needs Based Selling" document.
Training Continuum
This "Training continuum" chart is stunningly primitive. It categorizes sales reps along 2 dimensions: Selling skills and product knowledge. I had to enlarge the image to read it, and when I did I was drawn to the image of the sales rep in the lower right quadrant ("I have the sales skills but not the knowledge"). Get a load of the gams on that dame, as a Raymond Chandler hard-boiled detective might say!

Is this a freak of repeated Xeroxing? Or did some Democratic congressional staff member engage in a little whimsical graffiti?

Anyway, that's just funny. What's not so funny is what these documents might reveal about Merck's marketing and selling tactics, which can probably be extrapolated to the entire pharma industry. I intend to download all these documents and get a good idea of how Merck does business.

If I were a conspiracy freak -- and I am -- I'd say these documents will mysteriously disappear pretty soon. So hurry up and get your copies!

See for the list of documents.

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