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Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman Hardcover – March 1, 2005


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Hardcover, March 1, 2005
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing; 1 edition (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0740750399
  • ISBN-13: 978-0740750397
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #763,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jamie Reidy was a Notre Dame graduate and U.S. Army officer before he "carried the bag" for Pfizer during the drug giant's Golden Age from 1995 to 1999. After tapping his English degree and transitioning to a literary career, Jamie now fears he will have fewer opportunities for naps in his Manhattan Beach, Calif., home than he did as a drug rep --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

I generally write books about my favorite topic, which is generally me.

Harvard Business School invited me to speak in 2008. They have not asked me back.

5 Guys is the best burger chain in America; and, yes, that includes In-n-Out.

My mom says she had a constant barbecue potato chip craving when she was pregnant with me; to this day, BBQ chips are a major weakness of mine. It annoys me when people use, "to this day," in a sentence.

I've met Bono and Colonel Buzz Aldrin.

My dermatologist likes me this pale.

Customer Reviews

The author is a good writer and the book was an easy, fun read.
Med Device Rep
It was a long time since I read a 200+ page book like this one in only a day and laughed this much.
PR
This book is about how drugs are pushed and sold by big pharma and their drug reps.
G. Reid

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 68 people found the following review helpful By R. Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"In a perfect world, there would be no need for drug reps," writes Jamie Reidy in _Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman_ (Andrews McMeel Publishing). Of course, in a perfect world there would be no need for medicine or doctors, much less the representatives of the big pharmacy companies whose job it is to influence doctors to prescribe their particular medications. As a physician, I myself don't look at drug reps as a necessary evil. Each does, after all, have detailed knowledge of one or two drugs that I am responsible for prescribing. More importantly, reps provide samples, and for my patients, who are generally indigent, the samples represent a lifeline for those not yet on, say, Medicaid. I got lots of insights from Reidy's rollicking book, one of which is that other doctors find samples important as well, not for the poor but rather as starters for patients who will buy their own prescriptions if the supply of samples works. The larger revelations in Reidy's hugely entertaining book are not really complimentary to him or to Pfizer, the company about which he writes, or to drug reps in general, or to the medical profession. I know what drug reps do from my role in the system, but for other readers, there will be even more revelations of secrets here than there were for me. In the capitalist economy, we have not figured out the paradoxes of buying and selling health, and Reidy's book gives a small, detailed picture of some of the problems, with no suggestions for answers.

Reidy graduated from Notre Dame, with a degree in English, not pharmacology or even any other science. He did a spell in the military, and then he slacked.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By PR on March 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm an executive at a major drug company and I hesitated at first about writing a review for "Hard Sell." But in the end I just couldn't resist. "Hard Sell" is simply too funny and too important to ignore. It was a long time since I read a 200+ page book like this one in only a day and laughed this much. I simply couldn't put it down.

Jamie Reidy tells the inside story of how he became a drug company rep and all the ways he found out to cash a paycheck while doing as little as possible. If I hadn't already heard many of these creative ideas, shared by drug reps during past sales meetings, I wouldn't have thought this was for real.

But behind the humor this is a cautionary tale to policy makers and patients. "Hard Sell" is brutally honest about what really sells drugs. What sells, according to "Hard Sell," is sex. A couple of the most memorable lines in the book are "I witnessed men undergo complete personality makeovers in the presence of female salespeople," and "The women had the most basic human response on their side; regardless how behind schedule or how crazy the day, a male doctor would snap to attention at a mere whiff of perfume or a glance at a pretty girl, his instinctive desire to reproduce having kicked into gear."

In the end, anyone who has seen the good-looking pharmaceutical sales reps in any U.S. sales force has to ask if we want to have our drugs prescribed based on "male doctors' instinctive desire to reproduce" or based on science.

As a doctor myself, I'm afraid that science is taking more and more of a backseat today.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Loarie TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
James Reidy's "Hard Sell" is a funny, if troubling, personal story of Reidy's four year sojourn as a Drug Rep for Pfizer, Inc. The storyline begins with Reidy's early departure from the Army (his decision when offered) and ends with his "premature" departure from Pfizer. Premature since his sales territory achieves number one status shortly after he leaves.

Reidy provides interesting detail on the Pfizer recruiting process (they love Mormons and military officers); Pfizer's sales training program (pharmaceutical brainwashing); the tension and field tactics around being closely monitored by managers (voicemail then expense report receipts then sample sheet signatures); and, reasons why female reps do better than male reps (Gloria Steinem, where are you?).

Reidy joined Pfizer's newly formed pediatric/ENTs/ObGyn specialty sales force where he distinguished himself with mediocre sales and poor work activity. His lackluster performance put him in-line for a promotion, as the Pfizer culture encouraged the promotion of incompetence rather than dealing with it (Hank McKinnell, where are you?). Fortuitously for Reidy, he was "promoted" to a newly formed Urology sales force created to launch Viagra (erectile dysfunction), a drug launch which became the most successful in history.

The author notes that he came to view competition, Abbott and Lilly, as enemies of society because they lied and cheated. Meanwhile, he and some colleagues used "Sample Closets" as pharmaceutical filling stations when in need (as did office personnel and docs); falsified regulated sample sheet signatures when in need of time off; and rigged giveaways when seeking a new route to a doctor they wanted to build a relationship with.
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