Bad handwriting: It costs sales to the drug companies

Drug companies spend millions, and perhaps billions, of pounds and dollars on convincing doctors to prescribe their drugs. So nothing could be more galling after you’ve spent all that money convincing the doctor – and then his handwriting is so bad that a different drug is handed out.

This has been troubling drug giant Eli Lilly so much that it has taken out a full-page advertisement in the Journal of The American Medical Association – at a cost of $15,000 – that asks doctors to write out prescriptions in capital letters.

Eli Lilly has been missing out on quite a few sales of its anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa.  Because doctors are trained to write very badly, patients are instead walking off with Zyrtec, a drug to treat allergies that’s manufactured by UCB.

Of course, Eli Lilly’s main concern is for the “millions of patients and their families who are counting on you” (that is, the doctor).  Lost sales?  Well, there is that we suppose, but it’s the millions of patients we’re concerned about here.
(Source:  Journal of the American Medical Association, 2006; 296: 2562).

E-news broadcast 14 December 2006 No.318 [Subscribe]