After a decade as a pharmaceutical sales representative, Kathleen Slattery Moschkau found herself disillusioned by the industry, which she says focuses on profits over patients. She talks with Dr. Oz about her decision to not only change her job but the entire business as well.
Like many pharmaceutical reps, Kathleen says she had no background in science, and eventually she began to feel uncomfortable with her role in the medical business. For years, she says, she had been taking notes on the job every day and finally decided to do something with her observations. "I thought people needed to know what's going on behind the scenes, doctors too, so they can make choices about the pills they're putting in their body and prescribing," she says.
Kathleen says her notes became the screenplay for Side Effects, a fictional look at a young pharmaceutical rep's ethical struggles. Kathleen says she was involved in every aspect of the film, from raising the money to producing and directing, and she was overjoyed with the result. "[We were] surprised by how hungry people were for more information," she says. Many of the questions that came up from viewers led to Kathleen's second film, the documentary Money Talks: Profits Before Patient Safety.
Both consumers and the pharmaceutical industry can take steps to create change, Kathleen says. She says one easy step toward changing the industry would be hiring more qualified people with science backgrounds to work as sales representatives. As for the rest of us, Kathleen says it's important to be interested and informed. "As consumers, we all need to be asking better questions about our health and talking to our doctors about the pills we're taking," Kathleen says.