What could make drug reps even more annoying and obnoxious? Arm them with little plastic coupons for free drugs, that’s how.
I want to go on record to say that I hate 3/7/10/30-day one-time-use drug freebie cards. These bane of my profession entitle the member to a free fill of a certain drug. We input all of the data into our system as if its their insurance, run a set quantity of tablets through, and after cost + $2.50 their “insurance” magically covers whatever the rep is pimping out.
The intention is to replace the act of the doctor getting samples and giving them to the patient. However there’s a huge reason why I hate these cards and why the drug companies/reps absolutely love them. In fact, there are a few huge reasons.
Take a bottle of the latest and greatest drug. Runs in the neighborhood of about $400 for #100. Now give the patient a coupon for 5 free days. Who gets to have $380 (or #95 tablets) sitting on their shelf wasting money rotting until they expire (and only get about $150 when they are outdated and returned). Me. Not the patient, not the doctor, I get to eat the entire cost of the bottle minus what the stupid fucking coupon paid for. Sure, maybe if hell freezes over someones insurance may cover this drug, but unless you’re on the state tit (Medicaid) no sane insurance company will cover the latest and greatest without a prior auth.
Now, this brings me to my second point. Doctor gives them a free month of this shit because some big-titted drug rep sweet talked him. Completely eludes the doctor that what they are pushing is just two existing (probably generic) drugs that cost pennies shoved into one tablet and given a cool name like CADUET or EXFORGE. Cool trade names give better results (ask your local drug rep). Anyway, patient is on this new and greatest drug for an entire month because the doctor gets his/her drug information from walking whores (like getting sex advice from pimps, but I digress) only to (surprise) have the patients insurance NOT cover the drug after the 30 day coupon is used up. So not only did you piss off the pharmacy by making them stock a medication they will never dispense ever again, but now you need to alter your patients therapy because that little coupon didn’t magically buy them a prior auth. Big Pharma – 1, Doctor/Pharmacist – 0, Patient – 0.
So the take-home message to doctors is to just give the patient samples from your office. If for some reason the drug company will not furnish you samples (and just these stupid coupons) then throw him/her out of your office (which you should anyways). That way, if the drug isn’t covered you only screw the patient and not your local neighborhood pharmacy (but call us so we can tell you what IS covered or what we can do to help you continue therapy).
The take-home message to the patient is that these coupons are evil.
The take-home message to drug-reps is that you need to whore out the real goods instead of just pimping plastic cards. You still may have the wool pulled over the eyes of the doctors, but we’re all onto your bullshit and scam tactics to make us stock expensive shit that nobody will cover. If you made a GOOD product and sold it at a REASONABLE price, then maybe insurance companies would cover it. Think about that next time you’re at your million dollar corporate parties.