Reciprocity is a powerful tool in sales and marketing, and the exchange of favors are often of different magnitude.
Robert Burton of Salon wrote an interesting piece that discusses both the field of prescription drug marketing and how fMRI brain scans have been used to show that pain is “real.”
Fibromyalgia is a condition in which patients seem to experience more pain than non-sufferers. Fibromylgia is thought to be stimulated by mental states like anxiety and depression, but no specific measures like blood tests, X-rays, autopsies, etc., demonstrate any evidence of the condition. The only thing that physicians have to work with is the subjective descriptions of the patients as to their pain level. Now, fMRI brain scans which show more pain-related brain activation in fibromyalgia sufferers may open the floodgates for pharmaceutical companies to offer products like Lyrica to treat the condition. Of course, what the fMRI is showing is that the patient is experiencing a higher level of pain than normal, not that there is a specific organic reason for the pain.
This whole discussion gets into the fascinating area of expectations and individual experience: […]
In our recent article on The Mating Mind, we described how “romantically primed” men were much more likely to spend lots of money than men who were not so primed, and than women in either condition. Separately, we’ve also noted that female salespeople seem to dominate some areas, and that these women seem to skew toward the attractive end of the spectrum. One example is the pharmaceutical sales rep, who prototypically is an attractive female who spends much of her time calling on a predominantly male physician customer base. That’s an overgeneralization, of course – there are lots of female docs, and lots of male drug reps. Still, the stereotype is sufficiently valid that a physician acquaintance of mine expressed mock shock at seeing a middle-aged male drug rep, quipping, “I don’t think I’ve seen one of those before.” […]