I had the misfortune of having to go to the doctor yesterday. A slight case of bronchitis.
The woman in line in front of me, was a drug rep. When I was taken back to the exam room, I passed two more drug reps in the hall. One doctor joked “Hey Bob – which drug company do you work for these days?” The same drug rep teased the nursing staff about feeling unloved, taken advantage of.
When I entered the exam room – I realized the mouse pad used by my treating physician was advertising a Merck product. The Clock in the Exam room was advertising a drug I was not familiar with. Pamphlets, articles – the room was almost covered by drug ads.
Was my treating doctor swayed by these ads? The presence of the familiar drug reps? I doubt it as she didn’t feel medication would really help my URI – but it made me wonder. Does it sway the patients? Worse yet, is the goal to make money at any cost, causing problems for the medical community that has a duty to examine and analyze each case individually? Or, does the time the drug reps take away from the physicians during the day, effect the time they can spend with each patient?
No matter what the actual effect of this intense one on one advertising, it was made clear to me, that as a patient, I was not the priority of the drug reps.