Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Book Review: Hard Sell.

They say one shouldn't watch sausage or laws being made. Hard Sell indirectly nominates another candidate: sales of prescription drugs.

Authored by Jaime Reidy, this book is written as a memoir of his work as a pharmaceuticals sales rep for Pfizer in the mid-to-late 90s. Despite a heavy dose of funny anecdotes, darker secrets reside beneath this humorous veneer. Reading this book, questions abound about whether such drugs are being prescribed/sold on their merits or otherwise.

While the double entendre title and cover suggest the book centers on Reidy's selling Viagra(tm), that cultural phenomenon appears at least half way into the text. Most of it is dedicated to his work pushing other pharmaceuticals and the somewhat dubious techniques he (or others) employed getting "docs" to prescribe them over the competition.

At the very least, this book provides an insight into the intersection of commerce/capitalism with medicine, and the picture isn't pretty.

Reidy also probably destroys any future employment as he describes how he would scam the system, i.e., his employer (or at least try to). "How to Work Without Really Working" might have been an apropos alternate title. The book jacket describes this aspect of the tome as one of "self-mockery", but self-immolation might be a better fit.

In all, the book is an entertaining, quick read. Don't be fooled by its sunny tone, however; there's darkness lurking underneath.