No More Drug Schwag

It’s nearly impossible to avoid it. Pens, sticky notes, prescription pads, clocks, “informational” posters, clips, clocks, flashlights… all emblazoned with the logo of some drug currently being pumped or promoted by the pharmeceutical sales representative. All this promotional merchandise, along with paid for meals, junkets to hear speakers in Tahiti and more have been de riguer for the pill pushing business for as long as one can remember. Given that I have to take a handful of pills every day, even my pen caddy is touting the wonders of Lipitor, Benicar, OxyContin (a collectors item!), and more. I have a little keychain flashlight that tells me that Lexapro can help me make sense of the darkness. I also have a box of Arthur Anderson golf tee’s, but I digress.

Now, quite thankfully,the big squeeze has been put on these practices. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the major lobbying group for drug companies including Merck, Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb, enacted new rules governing how sales representatives in the field can interact with physicians. According to this article, everyone seems to be on board with this. I can think of at least two groups that will be unhappy:

  • Purveyors of promotional merchandise, including my friend Michelle at Brand IQ, who will have to find a replacement for the medical industry.
  • Medical office managers who will now have to create and apply a budget toward providing for basic office necessities.

I guess this means that I’ll never be able to find one of those Levitra tire swings for the oak tree in my front yard.


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