Tuesday, February 12, 2008

No drug reps were harmed in the making of this post.

If you've ever wondered why prescription medications are so expensive I've got the answer. Popcorn. Well, that, and clipboards, and coffee cups, and neat little folding cubicle calendars, and clocks, and computer mouses with floating plastic fish in them, and pens. I mean really nice pens, the sort that you get angry at yourself for losing.

Today, all over the United States pharmaceutical reps walked into doctor's offices and clinics and dropped of tons of free swag with their products name on it. I should know because I picked up about 20 nice pens and 4 packages of microwave popcorn at a local Behavioral Health office and redistributed it to my coworkers back at the office. I've also been invited back to the office for when the company rep is going to feed them in a few weeks and give his speal about how great their drug is. You should see the stacks of stuff these guys give away. My insulated plastic coffee mug that I use on daily basis was picked up from a rep. One of my clipboards, a lovely blue plastic one with a green clip, came from a rep. My sticky notes (I'm nearly out) came from a drug rep. And all my best pens. Some of them are metal ones that are made to accept ink refills when they run out. It's crazy.

I just read online that drug companies spend anywhere from 7% to 30% of their sales on advertising. Let's assume for a minute that its only 7%. What the hell do their sales figues have to look like for all the swag I see given away only add up to 7%?

Anyway, here's a package of popcorn that I picked up today. Read the label.

It is comforting to know that there is no active drug in the popcorn. I do believe they left some of the inactive variety in there for flavoring. Hmmmmmm.... that's good psychotropic popcorn.


I love Mr. Deity. I actually enjoyed the first season more than the second, current one. The second season just hasn't seemed to match up, until this one. This is what I've come to expect from that crew.

What I like about the show is that it's intelligent and irreverent without being disrespectful. You can tell that the writer(s) are fairly theologically literate and have really wrestled with the issues presented. God bless these guys, even if they don't know what to think of God. :)


There's two things that I don't like. It's when someone sensationalizes while discussing an issue, and the other is when someone doesn't think about what they say. I did both above. I should have said that the swag given away is *one*of*the*reasons* pharmaceuticals are so expensive, rather than it being "the answer" to the issue.

Secondly, I'm sure than swag only makes up a portion of the advertising budget. There are TV commercials intended to get us to hound our doctors about medications when we don't even really know what the hell they do. I also wonder how they classify the expenditures on dinners and cocktails for doctors and lunches given at clinics. Is that "advertising" per their definition.

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