When a drugmaker fires a sales rep, it counts on hired guns like Alex Brown to clean up the mess. Brown, however, would appear to be an unlikely foot soldier for big pharma - he's better known as the longtime athletic trainer for Oklahoma University's basketball team,The Star-Ledger of New Jersey writes. But in between practices, road trips and physical therapy sessions, he moonlights for Cegedim Dendrite.
And he's not the only one: A small army of fellow sports trainers work second jobs policing samples and serving as "close-out" wranglers for drugmakers, collecting laptop computers and other company gear when a salesperson leaves the business. Although Brown handles "close-outs," recovering company laptops, IDs and other gear from sales reps, the bulk of his part-time work is sample inventories. Auditors have to make sure the drugs are properly accounted for and safely locked away in climate-controlled storage, which can be in a salesperson's home or a rented locker.
Brown represents an odd intersection of need, opportunity and personal ties between pharma and athletic trainers. Cegedim Dendrite wanted a reliable, part-time work force to ensure its customers' sales teams are kept on their toes. Trainers fit the bill because they generally have good people skills, are steeped in health care and can use the extra cash - the average compensation for sample auditing is $5,000 to $7,000.
The sample-management business started in the early 1990s, when tighter regulatory requirements were put in place for handling the drugs, according to Bill Buzzeo, a Cegedim Dendrite exec whose father founded the sample auditing unit. The business was originally known as BuzzeoPDMA before it was bought by Dendrite, which itself was acquired by Cegedim last year.
District managers from drugmakers used to have to perform those pickups themselves, but it works better to have a neutral party, according to Buzzeo. Also, pharma didn't want to waste a sales manager's time with the inventories, so they contracted the work out. In the early days, the business hired people off the street. Salespeople complained, however, when auditors showed up in T-shirts or had gruff attitudes. Now, about 50 companies, ranging from small drugmakers to some of the world's largest, use the service.
You can read the full story here.