Medicine Is Not About Money, Except When It Is

November 4, 2014 3:32 PM

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Medicine Is Not About Money, Except When It Is

When I was in my residency training, pharmaceutical reps still roamed the land. Vast herds of gorgeous young women in tight skirts and stilettos traveled through doctor's offices, clinics, hospitals and residencies all over creation. Their appearance was always a thing of joy, especially for sleepy, hungry physicians-in-training. Someone would run to the ER with the news, "Hey, Kim's here and she brought sandwiches!" Both facts left the male residents (and who knows, maybe some of the female residents) giddy. We would wolf down lunch, listen to the pitch and gather up a pen or two. Then it was back to life as usual. There were male drug reps. But I suspect the female of the medical species was a bit more discerning and less suggestible.

Of course, the reps also left samples. We loved samples, because we could give them to poor people who had no way to afford prescriptions -- not even cheap ones. The reps also helped us learn to recognize bad science when it was presented, and it sometimes was. Over time, the rules changed. Reps cou...

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