John v John: Ex-Pfizer Exec LaMattina Lays Into John Oliver & Takes a Cheap Shot at Medical Journalists | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

[Oliver] took on the pharmaceutical industry’s marketing practices, starting with the people who talk directly to doctors, the pharmaceutical reps. He claimed that all reps are physical beauties, his source for this information being the TV comedy, Scrubs. Actually, during the segment he showed comments from five different former pharmaceutical reps all of whom are quite ordinary looking. Maybe this is why they are ex-reps. He went on to say that these reps are not necessarily trained in science but could, in fact, have been political science majors, implying that these folks have no business being in doctors’ offices talking about medicines. Here he does a disservice to thousands of people. Over my Pfizer career I met many reps who are extremely intelligent. Not all of them were science majors in college, but they undergo months of intense training when first hired to learn about the basics of the drugs that they will be promoting. I would argue that the training they receive puts them on a par with many people who comment or write about medicines for major news outlets.

Finally, if I were a physician, I would be quite offended by the parody that Oliver used at the end of his segment. He makes doctors appear to be nitwits who are easily influenced by the lure of a sales rep bearing goodies. In his view, doctors are corrupt and their prescribing practices are governed by payments and perks from pharmaceutical companies. Do people think so little of doctors that they believe this?