A story reported and produced by Gerri Shaftel at KTTV-Los Angeles (and presented by Christine Devine) gives viewers a look into the world of pharmaceutical representatives, a world of former beauty queens and long lists of off-label uses and side effects.
It’s based around a former pharmaceutical rep and cheerleader named Jennifer Shaw, and opens with the standard portrait of reps as former models with short skirts and even shorter scientific résumés, but also goes into how reps get the information about doctors’ prescribing habits.
Over the course of the story, viewers learn how pharmaceutical companies track every prescription a doctor writes, press doctors to raise specific prescription numbers, and rank physicians on a scale of 1 to 100, then reward them accordingly with speaking engagements and the like. Even Jennifer, the rep turned tell-all author, has a compelling story about how she left the industry when her company pushed her to sell a reformulated drug despite the alarming side effects that were cropping up along her sales route.
It may come in a fancy package, but it’s wholesome stuff.