One of the things that grabbed attention this week was passage of a law in Massachusetts to license pharmaceutical sales representatives, according to the Boston Globe. It has been passed by one house, but not the other of the legislatures. If it became law, it would be the first state to bring about such regulation. The rationale given by the bill sponsors was that “[h]airdressers and manicurists must be licensed to work in the Commonwealth," said the bills sponsor Senator Mark Montigny, Democrat of New Bedford.
What in the world does the licensing of hairdressers have to do with the licensure of pharmaceutical sales representatives? For that matter, why are hairdressers licensed? Did someone see Sweeney Todd too many times?
While a Congress that has produced less activity than most is debating an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage while gas prices rise, consumer debt skyrockets, the deficit is unbelievable, we are mired in a long war, the beginning of which the president called out "Bring it on" to the enemy… Massachusetts is licensing pharmaceutical sales reps. Apparently, everything else in Massachusetts is running smoothly enough for them to take this up, like the Big Dig perhaps. The rationale was that “Pharmaceutical representatives who market prescription drugs and attempt to influence doctors to prescribe name-brand drugs should also be licensed."
Pharmaceutical sales reps have a job that is supposed to be about getting physicians to prescribe their drugs.
Look, I am all in favor of appropriate regulation. And I’ll admit, that pharmaceutical sales reps may not all be good people who do good things. But licensing them? If we licensed all people who exercise some bad judgment that may impact public health then I have a proposal.
All state legislators of each state should be licensed. All members of Congress should be licensed. And the President of the United States should be licensed. Oh, and by the way, perhaps like a marriage license, we should restrict those licenses to straight people.