Underlying cause of illegal pharma activities

SalesVsMarketingKEY TAKEAWAY: A “sales driven culture” within pharma leads to pushing the boundaries of what is considered legal and often leads to fines.  As long as Biopharma companies continue to appoint sales people into marketing and leadership positions it’s going to continue to happen.

I did an analysis of illegal pharma activities, via fines, and researched the background when key executives were mentioned.  The common denominator? 95% of pharma companies that were fined had executives in decision making positions with sales backgrounds.  Surprise?  You shouldn’t be.


I have seen firsthand what sales executives in marketing or management positions do to succeed and at times it has turned my stomach.  I’m talking about discussing off label prescribing information, caving to the demands of sales people even though what they are asking or is clearly out of bounds and putting sales above all else especially patients.

How many brand/product VP’s come from sales?  The answer would scare you.  Sales people are interested in one thing and one thing only: making numbers, and they will do whatever is necessary to meet their quotas.  When that happens integrity usually goes down the drain.


The quest to make numbers has been the objective of pharma CEO’s who get rewarded by The Street for their higher compensation packages.  That “culture” flows downhill even as they talk about the importance of patients and leads to violations of FDA policies.  Marketing people are wise to identify sales driven cultures and decide whether working on “the dark side” is really worth their integrity.