I just learned there are people working to sell doctors on NOT pushing those pricey major pharmaceutical products. Instead, they talk to them about alternatives, showing research that explains how effective many generic and lower-priced choices can be. Hallelujah! Someone is trying to break the seemingly forever honeymoon between big pharma and our doctors.

According to an article by Barbara Basler in the latest AARP magazine, there are now “unsales” reps in Pennsylvania making it their business to help better inform doctors. And it seems to be working:

Pennsylvania’s unsales program is costing $3 million over three years and is already helping to pay for itself. Avorn says a new state study reported that the unsales pitch on acid suppression drugs alone saved state programs about $572,000 a year as more doctors switched from brand-name Nexium to generics, antacids and other over-the-counter drugs that work as well for many patients.

This is good for the state and for our pocketbooks. I remember almost falling over when my doctor prescribed Nexium and I saw how much it cost – especially when added to my deductible. Holy crap!

It pisses me off to know doctors fall for the sales pitches of big pharma. I once had a doctor friend who went to all kinds of fancy conferences (read vacations) and saw nothing wrong with it since he truly believed he could remain impartial. Maybe he could. But I know most doctors are too busy to keep up with all the choices out there.

And so I applaud this new program. South Carolina just started one and other states are considering it. To me it’s inspiring to see people recognize a problem and find a clever win/win solution. As long as the unsales reps provide doctors with the most accurate information out there, this can only be a win for all of us.


Note: This was originally published on a blog I had for a very short time recently. Decided Out of My Head was as good a place as any to rant about Big Pharma!