Shahram Ahari, who spent two years selling Prozac and Zypraxa for Eli Lily, told a Senate Aging Committee that his job involved “rewarding physicians with gifts and attention for their allegiance to your product and company despite what may be ethically appropriate.”
During their five-week training class, Ahari says he was taught sales tactics such as:
- How to exceed spending limits for important clients
- How to be generous with free samples to leverage sales
- How to use friendships and personal gifts to foster a “quid pro quo” relationship
- How to exploit sexual tension
Ahari claims that he’s even heard stories about sales reps helping to pay the cost of a doctor’s swimming pool, or taking a doctor to a nightclub where a hostess was paid to keep him company.
For this work, sales reps often earned more than researchers. On top of a base salary of $50,000 for starting reps, Ahari says, “there were four quarterly bonuses, an annual bonus, stock options, a car, 401K, great health benefits, and a $60,000 expense account.”
Sources:ABC News March 12, 2008
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