Shahram Ahari, who spent two years selling Prozac and Zypraxa for Eli Lily, told a Senate 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."
Ahari claimed that drug companies often hire former cheerleaders and ex-models, as well as former athletes and members of the military, even if they have no background in science. "On my first day of sales class, among 21 trainees and two instructors, I was the only one with any level of college-level science education," said Ahari.
During their five-week training class, Ahari was taught sales tactics, including 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, and how to exploit sexual tension.
Ahari claims that he's 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.
* ABC News March 12, 2008