Healthcare companies are under huge pressure to create demand for their products, which is why many of them employ a small army of sales reps to help spread the word. That fact often gets under the skin of consumers, which is why some believe that the promotion of healthcare products should be outlawed.
In this clip from The Motley Fool's Industry Focus: Healthcare, analyst Kristine Harjes and Brian Feroldi discuss why they think that Intuitive Surgical's (NASDAQ:ISRG) revolutionary da Vinci system wouldn't be nearly as prominent today if it wasn't for the company's team or reps, leaving us all worse off.
A transcript follows the video.
This podcast was recorded on Jul. 13, 2016.
Brian Feroldi: The unfortunate truth that this -- through reps -- is really how a lot of doctors get their information. A common pushback against that is, "We have trade shows and there's journals. Can't the doctors get the information like that?" I can tell you firsthand that's not enough. Doctors are very pressed for time; they're under constant pressure to see patient after patient after patient. And I think patients do want their doctors to be up to date on the latest drugs that are out there, the latest devices. Plus, you know better than anybody how complex reimbursement is, for example, for drugs. So, that's just a whole world that reps can help shed some light on.
Kristine Harjes: Yeah, I agree there. You have these people who are experts in the drugs, and they can answer these really complex questions. I think speed is a big part of it, too. If you as a small company can't get the word out about your drug quickly, that's really going to hold you back, especially if you're spending a ton of money trying to get this drug to ramp up quickly. All of a sudden, if you're not turning a profit as quickly, it's slowing down your research and development efforts.
Feroldi: Absolutely. The example I always give is: Can you imagine, rewinding the clock to 2000, and you're Intuitive Surgical, who just got FDA approval for this da Vinci system, which has really transformed the way that surgery is done? Can you imagine being the first rep to try to market this device? Your sales pitch is going out there and saying: "Hey, would you like to buy my new device? It costs millions of dollars, it's going to take hours upon hours of training, what could possibly go wrong? And oh, by the way, a patient's life is on the line while you're doing this. Would you like to sign up?" I mean, without reps, I'm convinced the da Vinci system would not exist today, and really, we'd all be worse off.
Harjes: It would have been incredibly easy to just ignore the entire potential of robotic surgery if you didn't have these reps going out there and getting the word out.