Universal Healthcare Will Happen!
By Alan J Simpson
Washington, DC Sept. 19th, 2007 ---- There is a drug-induced dream state in Big Pharma that believes that pumping millions into lobbying politicians will hold off the inevitable move towards a better healthcare system for the United States. Instead of embracing the flow of progress, and modifying their sales and distribution mechanism, the short sighted believe they can halt the demands of the vast majority of the electorate to Congress.
Of course Congress, and the military have already got "Socialized Medicine" like the rest of the world, only the millions who pay their wages are refused the benefits of a similar system.
The introduction of Universal Healthcare will result in an increase in the need for pharmaceuticals, and if the marketing and sales model used by Big Pharma is efficient then the result for investors will be very positive. But the sales and marketing model is far from efficient, and the line management doesn't know any other. They will cling onto having young bubbly "Drug Reps" riding around the country strong arming doctors and nurses, and plying them with inducements to prescribe, regardless of the needs of the patient. The same "Drug Reps" move into management and can only come up with the same, including creating smart TV commercials to drive paranoid Americans to demand a pill for everything from frustration, to a boring sex life, sold like breakfast cereal. Meanwhile the really sick are suffering, burdened with the costs of creating, and showing all those commercials.
American Big Pharma can do better, especially in the field of training their management, salespeople and speakers, especially speakers. I have watched parts of many pharma meetings over the last ten years and they usually leave a lot to be desired. Many Doctor's know the product, but have the presentation skills of a Douglas Fir Tree at Christmas. They just stand there!
I was in my Primary Care Providers office a few weeks ago when I had to wait while this month's Doctor was verbally abused by a young Drug Rep for not meeting her promised level of prescribing their products. I was really amused at the scene. Here was a young pharma rep, barely out of college, bringing free lunch platters to feed the overweight obese assistants in the practice, and scolding the doctor for not writing enough prescriptions. The doctor, from Africa by the way, was apologizing and promising to write more. My routine check up had to be done in less than 5 minutes as there was a waiting room full of patients. I was of course charged the full price, and never even got a sandwich. On the way out there was another Drug Rep arms piled high with freebies, requesting an urgent meeting with the doctor as she was behind her schedule and had to let the doctor know of some great menu's available at the restaurants where they were holding product meetings. Her BMW was parked outside in a handicapped place, so she could unload all the freebies for the doctors and staff. Two little old ladies were helping an old man with a walking frame across the car park as there was no room to park because of perky Drug Rep needing to unload a trunk full of freebies. Not Good!
This blatant abuse by the Drug Reps will abruptly end sooner than later, as will the often misleading pharmaceutical advertising on every TV channel.
Pharmaceutical marketing is changing in America, and the big corporations are unprepared for the rapid response to political decisions, believing that they can control change, and in many cases just ignore the rules. Unlike Big Pharma the agile biotech companies can score big if they look carefully at the global marketplace, and the global trends. They are starting afresh and are not bogged down with inflexible procedures and thinking. Big Pharma will destroy itself, not by desire, but by being inefficient and out of touch with developing trends. They are too big and unwieldy, with managers who don't want change, nor understand the dynamics of change, especially on a global scale.
Politicians know the tide of change is beginning to move across the vast American healthcare market, and as the millions of Baby Boomers retire they will demand more and more pharmaceutical products, with less income or insurance to pay for them. They still have the vote, which is not lost on politicians. The voter struggling with a painful ailment will become a potent force in the years ahead.
One thing is certain, the last remaining bastion of unfettered pharmaceutical extremism will be replaced with a high demand, high consumption, but reasonably priced pharmaceutical model in the near future. Let's hope the current majors are still in business to benefit from this change, and not the casualties of litigation for suppressed feedback on dangers of their products, expensive and ineffective marketing, and from antagonizing rooms full of waiting patients (voters) with arrogant, insensitive and half trained Drug Reps.
They all may be the casualties in the war to bring in Universal Healthcare. But it will happen, sooner than later.