Last week, I was handed the phone, “Take this one, Jim. You are good with these people.”
It was moderately busy and I really did not have time to waste, but I said, “Hello”.
The caller was very talented. A pleasant, casual and forthcoming woman. She made me feel warm, but she was still a telephone solicitor. She was not trying to sell me anything. She was trying to detail me on a pharmaceutical product over the telephone. She represented one of the jewels of BIG PHARMA. A major company that sells billion dollar drugs. They were not about to hire someone to read a script. This woman was winging it and she was very good at what she did. I believed that she actually knew about the drug she wanted to talk about.
“Stop,” I said, “Slow down.”
“Do you want me to repeat something?”
“No, I want you to just stop.”
“Just stop and listen to me. Okay?”
“Okay.” Her voice was still very friendly, cooperative.
“Now, please don’t take this personally. I have an attitude about what you are doing. I do not like it and I’m going to say goodbye very soon.”
“All I’m doing is trying to give you important information on a product.” Still very friendly.
“I know. It’s your job and you are good at it, but my fondest wish for you is that every pharmacist you talk to just says NO.”
“Pardon me.” A hint of ice in her voice now.
“I am insulted. Your calling me at 1:00 PM on a busy day to try to educate me on one of your company’s products is an insult. It is disrespectful.”
“How is that?” A chill.
“Put it this way. If your company wants to get my attention it will have to send a representative right through the front door of this pharmacy. Your company will have to send an educated, professional man or woman for some live face time.”
“Oh, I see. I’ll pass that on.” Deep freeze.
“I will always give a detail person a few minutes. I don’t want pens or sticky pads. What I want is: What does the drug do? What are the dangers? Why is it better than the other guy’s? That’s all I want.”
“I can tell you all of that.”
“Nope! I’m stubborn about this. You have competitors. I play favorites. A small company that couldn’t afford to pay for your company’s toilet paper sent in a pleasant young lady a few weeks ago. I’ll favor them every chance I get. Her little line of prescription products will be prescribed.”
“How can a pharmacist do that?”
“We have influence. We can do that.”
Yesterday, I found E-Detailing in my e-mail in box. This was an even more
out of place and inappropriate attempt to get my attention. This is an over-the-top egregious insult. This marketing company offered me a $10 gift certificate to DO A SHORT CE COURSE on this drug. No ACPE credit, just 10 dollars. Give me a break. Ten bucks for that much of my time? I’m a pharmacist. What do they think I work for?
Perhaps, you do not agree. I still think that detail people offer a great deal of value to us. We’re gonna lose them. If we continue to blow them off when they come in,
we’ll lose them. If we listen to telephone detailing, they’ll be gone. If we actually do these ridiculous E-detailing questionnaires, we’ll never see detail people from BIG PHARMA ever again. Little companies still send in human beings. I WILL favor them. I will give them the time to answer my three questions. I will be patient and I will listen for a few minutes. They are honoring us. We are important enough to pay a real human being to talk to US.
A pleasant and attractive young woman was in. I had seen her within the last month. She works for Hawthorn Pharmaceuticals and
wanted to talk about her Dytan family of products Boarding Gate divx . The are for cough, cold, etc. Symptomatic relief. Big Pharma could not care less. The big money is in niche products for a relatively small audience, but at ridiculously inflated prices. Anyway, I was pleased to tell her that we were getting a half dozen Rxs for the Dytan family. I told her in advance that I only had 2 minutes. And…. she was done in
those 2 minutes. Face time. It is important. Hawthorn honors us. I have not seen a Lilly person or a Merck person for 6 years.