Jane Chin – a voice of reason in the pharmacutical field

ChinJane Chin, PhD. is a champion of medical science liaison (MSL) integrity.

Medical science liaisons (MSLs) are therapeutic specialists who contribute to the competitive advantage of a pharmaceutical company by developing "relationship capital" for their organization. They are the equivalent of the high level analysts who perform technical sales support in certain high tech companies. Many of these PhDs are forced to walk a fine line between telling the truth and compromising their integrity to help the sales team.

A sales team can often see opportunity where there is no ethical basis for a deal. This is true in pharmaceuticals and it is also true in the electronics and software fields. It does not necessarily spring from greed, it’s usually the product of ignorance.

When sales people have already targeted one of these "opportunities", the technical support people can be put under great pressure to contribute to the sale, even in an off-specification or off-label application. If they have scruples, they get threatened with punishment for not being "team players".

The silver lining to this is that there are a lot of ethical MSLs out there and Jane’s company provides resources and training for MSLs who want to maintain personal and professional credibility. Read this article, Breaking Their Silence, about Jane Chin on meetingsnet.com.

Jane has an extraordinarily effective corporate website. You click on the links under the central image and Jane talks to you in a very personal and understandable way. If you are a consultant or provide a service that is based on presenting yourself, this is an incredible model of effective and personalized communication. I see this type of site as a model for the future. I want one…SOON!  🙂

Jane found me through a Google search for work life balance and we quickly discovered that we held similar views in that area. I sent her a copy of Danger Quicksand – Have A Nice Day and she did a marvelous review which is posted on her personal  weblog.

The following is an excerpt. You need to visit her site and read the entire review.

This is your warning. This will be one of the more cringe-inducing books you will read, and is the case for me. Chapter 4, "Preparing for Change" made me squirm: I was reading a "wreck-umentary" of my prior employment experiences. Many readers of this book felt the same, and I read quote after quote from readers who wondered if St. Lawrence had a camera set up at their companies. The corporate insanity that occurs on a daily basis appears to be a universal employment archetype rather than isolated incidents.

After seeing reference to "cold sweat" and "cringe-inducing" as the primary reaction to reading my book. I am beginning to wonder if there is a genre for "corporate horror novels comedies". 🙂

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0 Responses to Jane Chin – a voice of reason in the pharmacutical field

  1. Jane Chin says:

    Hi David: I’m interested to read about “off-specs” discussion in the high tech arena. Are off-specs use encouraged often in the software business by reps, do these cause problems for the customers who attempt them (if they do attempt them) and what roles do the tech analysts play in these interactions? I’m always amazed at the parallels we draw between industries.
    Thank you for taking the time to find out more about what I do 🙂

  2. Jane,

    Off-spec use is ALWAYS risky because published specs are optimistically pushed to the limit in the first place.

    When you look at a performance specification, it almost always has a disclaimer buried in the fine print. These will take this form: only when operated at normal temperatures, based on scheduled maintenance being performed daily, when operated at a standard duty cycle of 50%, etc.

    Sales reps are commission-driven machines. They want to sell what the customer needs. They generally only read specs until they see what they want to see and they are full of hope that the product will do just fine or can somehow be modified to meet the customer’s needs.

    Tech analysts, and I have been one, are eager to solve the customer’s problem. They usually work with the salesperson although they may meet separately with the customer’s technical people. The tech analyst is more cautious than the salesperson, because she or he may have to actually design the necessary modifications needed to solve the customer’s problem.

    Modifying/customizing ANY product is fraught with risks. If these actions are done, they are usually performed by persons other than the normal production crew and are tested by technicians who are not part of the final test group. The documentation will be sparse and the timetable will be rushed. If the product was an airplane, you wouldn’t want to fly in it. If the product was a software application, like a CRM system, you would not want to put it online during the last quarter of the year.

    It takes an enormous amount of work to get a product released and properly documented in the first place. Using such a product in an application for which is was not designed and tested is an act of desperation which is usually rewarded by lawsuits and dismissals. The dismissals, of course, will be directed at the people who worked hardest to make things go right. The culprits will have been promoted or will have left for higher paying jobs on the strength of having secured this major contract.

    I’m sure that you have seen this in the pharma field too.

    To reiterate:

    Specifications are not movable boundaries. In most cases, they are optimistically set confidence levels. Exceeding them is done at great risk to all concerned.

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