Similarly to the United States, Peru (or at least, the Belen Clinic in Cuzco) also has pharmaceutical salespersons who visit doctors’ offices to give their pitch about the latest and greatest drugs. So far while I have been working at the Belen Clinic, we have been visited by two different pharm rep’s. It appears that some people think I might actually look Peruvian, so I find that as long as I keep my gringo mouth shut and pretend to understand all that they are talking about, they treat me like one of the local doctors. I don’t know if there are any incentives to using certain drugs, but at least so far, I have not seen any paid lunches or dinners brought to the clinic by a pharm rep.
Interestingly, one thing that I immediately noticed is that for whatever drug that is made by a certain pharmaceutical company, they use the same packaging for different kinds of drugs. For safety purposes, specifically to prevent inadvertently giving out a wrong drug, I don’t think this would be allowed in the U.S. However, I wonder if it is ever a problem here. Below are a few examples of what I am talking about. Notice how many different medications have the same exact labeling, box size, and color.