I read an interesting article in the AJC (registration required) about pharmaceutical sales reps – you know, the people that show up at doctors’ offices and hospitals to wine and dine the doctors and sometimes their staffs in order to get them to prescribe a particular company’s antibiotic rather than its competitors. They usually carry a lot of pens and handouts. Anyway, it seems that drug companies heavily recruit college cheerleaders. Why? Because they are fit, good-looking, expressive, peppy, and persuasive. The drug companies argue that cheerleaders have the right personality to become successful sales reps. Industry critics, however, believe that “sex sells.” In a competitive industry that aggressively markets Viagra as a top-selling drug, the cynics see companies looking for an unseemly edge. The issue is worth some scrutiny, they say, because of the influence drug reps have on what doctors prescribe for their patients.
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