Personalized Medicine? Bring it On.

Some people look down on sales people.  I'm sure that most scientists do.  Most journalists and editors do, too. But sales does make the world go round, and not everyone can be a great sales person.  It takes nerve, personality, intelligence, and an ability to size up the listener and adjust the pitch accordingly, all in milliseconds. 

People with such talents can sell anything. They don't need to sell drugs to physicians. Do they? One of the side benefits of personalized medicine is the fact that therapies with smaller markets would no longer require teams of sales people to descend upon physicians in their offices"”people with the keen sales ability of  one AstraZeneca sales director who says that he approaches each oncologist office visit with the following spirit: "There is a big bucket of money sitting in every office.  Every time you go in, you reach your hand in the bucket and grab a handful.  The more times  you are in, the more money goes in your pocket.  Every time you make a call, you are looking to make more money." Peter Rost blogged about this recently, and John Mack and Ed Silverman are among those who discussed it yesterday.  But if you missed it, here is its source, from Rost:  AstraZeneca Sales Rep Article from Oncology Newsletter It's not that all sales people are greedy"¦maybe this  "killer instinct" for making the sale requires that they distance themselves from the patients who take the drugs they sell,  just as their customer physicians do, in order to perform effectively. But in the process, something important is lost. Have you ever been to a doctor's office where patients are taking their chemotherapy treatments?  It is disturbing at first, and likely to make some people uncomfortable, but the courage and endurance of all these patients is inspiring and unforgettable. Perhaps it is fitting to remember their suffering on this day, when Christians remember the suffering and death of Christ.   (As my son asked, Why do they call it "Good" Friday if He died?) Until personalized cures eliminate the need for chemotherapy and other such painful treatments, perhaps more sales people could think about these patients (rather than the buckets of money) when they pay the oncologists' offices a visit. And now, some antidotes to the "buckets of money": news of the American Cancer Society's Patient Navigator System, designed to help cancer patients and their families sort through the myriad of treatment options.  AstraZeneca recently donated $10 million to this program.  For more information, click here.   Antidote number two: a program that AstraZeneca is helping to fund in the U.K. to train the scientists required to develop novel therapies of the future.  To read, click here. Hope you enjoy a beautiful spring weekend. AMS