Pharmaceutical ice cream

November 23, 2007 § 3 Comments

A pharmaceutical sales man at workI’m at a medical convention. Like most medical conventions it’s sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry. A large hall is filled with stands from the different companies. Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Bayer, AstraZeneca, they’re all here. I’m not very often at conventions like this, and every time I’m puzzled by the pharmaceutical sales people. This is indeed a strange but varied way to make a living.

Judging by the sales people I’ve seen so far, these are some of tasks you’ll have to manage if you want to be a successful drug dealer:

  • Talk convincingly about the brilliancy of a ball point pen
  • Demonstrate the use of a combined calculator and compass
  • Make waffles
  • Demonstrate the use of a Skype phone
  • Make a nicely arranged plate of fruits
  • Blow up several balloons
  • Feed aquarium fish

But the most important thing you have to know is how to make soft ice cream. On this convention no less than two pharmaceutical stands serves soft ice. I asked one of them if it was a new way to administer chemotherapy. They didn’t get the joke.

These companies pay for the entire convention. But their presence here is ridiculous beyond belief. It seems like the only thing they don’t have to know anything about is pharmacy. In many ways they represent the exact opposite of the medical sciences, and I think it’s very problematic that the medical community is so dependent on them.

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§ 3 Responses to Pharmaceutical ice cream

  • Andrea Lam says:

    It is always fascinating to know people’s thinking with what you do.

    Functions of medical sales people actually includes not only sales and marketing, but also PR. Some how when we try too hard to please the customers with outrageous marketing gimmicks, we lost our image as a PR for our companies. There is a fine line for a balance of the two roles.

    Medical professionals is a very niche group of people. THey are highly esteemed by the society because of their knowledge, high income and therefore their contribution to the society. Traditional marketing schemes seemed hard to reach the group which is already numbed by the overwhelming competition in the field. Outstanding marketers, especially among the listed companies, can’t give up but caught in the rat race and try their best to win the market, by all means.

    Regardless of the high contamination chance of soft icecream, this was chosen by some companies to refresh the doctors during medical conference. Although our company didn’t consider such an idea, as banned by the two colleagues graduated from Food Science, I can understand the reason why the other drug companies chose this refreshment for display.

    Afterall, there must be someone who started the icecream display and successfully attracted a multitude. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any followers.

  • Øystein says:

    Thanks for your detailed comment. Interesting to hear from an “insider” too!

    I think the main point is that the large amount of give-aways and refreshments tend to come in the way of the message, making the business come across as less serious.

  • […] no ice cream this time, but I managed to scoop up a great variety of […]

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