PharmExec Blog

The Sunshine Act Makes for Gloomy Sales Reps

On Café Pharma message boards, the drug industry’s online water cooler, anonymous sales reps are sounding off on the Physician Payment Sunshine Act and its implications for their battered profession. Here’s a selection from a thread that PharmExec came across, edited for spelling, punctuation, and coherence:

“It’s been talked about for the last couple of years. Now that it’s finally here, what are your [physician] offices actually saying? Are you still going to bother with lunches?”

“Offices will start canceling all lunches. The reps will feel it in their pocket too. No more bringing home free dinners to feed the family.”

“It’s not a problem as of yet, but wait until the media starts talking and/or printing the monies spent then it will be a different story.”

“Wait ‘til the local paper starts publishing how much money is spent on good old ‘Doc High Writer’ ($200 a day for lunch/breakfast, X 4 days a week, 52 weeks a year, gosh that sounds like a lot, it is), you’ll see him on the 6 o’clock news for 20 seconds, trying to explain the great educational interaction he receives from us reps. But the lunch room will be shut down.”

“A few years ago there was a fire drill when docs discovered they could block their data—three docs in my territory did it. The only people who will be affected are the speakers for [Novo Nordisk] who get $100K-plus per year. I will make sure that certain people get a photocopy of certain documents in order to convince them of certain things.”

“I left [Sanofi-Aventis] for medical device sales and never looked back. We don’t do lunches, dinner programs, have iPads, and give away pens, post-it notes, clipboards, wall clocks, or samples in order to make our sales calls more effective. It’s sad that you have trained your customers to expect these things and now you are worried that pharma reps will have to rely on their capabilities of selling without them.”

“Lunches are shutting down, people. Once a doctor exceeds $100 reported of food annually, their record will go public for all to see just how much money they receive in free food from sales reps.”

“This is not just a pharma thing either. Any healthcare related vendors are liable.”

“Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter if meals are under $10. Everything gets posted once the doc hits $100 total for the year. I can almost feel the doors closing once docs figure that out, and the media gets a hold of the data.”

“Basically, anyone who is in a so-called sales position, one that UPS or Fed-Ex can do a better job at is impacted.”

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  1. Posted August 29, 2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Proactive pharma sales leaders have gotten out ahead of this and begun training their sales people how to rely less on freebies and more on providing real value to HCPs in order to secure access. There are proven methodologies out there.

  2. Posted September 1, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    The Sunshine Act is not the only thing impacting pharmaceutical marketing and sales – its actually one of the least significant. Healthcare reform, access to information, and evolving expectations on cross-media and preference-based marketing are all changing the way pharmaceutical companies are communicating with doctors, caregivers, and patients alike. Regardless on The Sunshine Act, reliance on the traditional paradigm of pharmaceutical marketing and selling is what should be of concern here.

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