This was posted yesterday afternoon on CafePharma -- if the tale of this purported "former Merck HQ security professional" is accurate -- I am thrilled not to have to make a living in pharmaceutical sales or detailing. Take a look -- does anyone know whether some (or all!) of this is accurate?
. . . .Merkie here. This situation certainly sucks but if you make it through let me tell you how "Mother Merck" tracks all field employees. Here are a few:▲ Merck issued cell phone to be turned "on" during business hours.
▲ Computer based detailing with wireless card/signal "on" during business hours (the above also goes for account execs, managers, etc. who claim they are at home working).
▲ New issued cars (Malibu, Fusion, Subaru) all have continuous, activated GPS.
▲ Drug test annually.
▲ Product testing every two months, 90% or better, or you are on probation.
▲ Constant reports monitored by security run daily on all of the above.
▲ Merck security has and will follow reps who they suspect are violators.
And the worst . . . at least once weekly a headquarters supervisor will audit your calls and send a random "screen capture" back to a customer for verification. They verify signature and screen content reviewed. I have noticed they usually audit the calls entered in the mid- to late- afternoon. Not sure how your company does things, maybe it is similar. I have noticed when we hire a person from another company, they usually leave because they are forced to work a full day. As for positions with more autonomy (account execs, etc.), no grace here, either. All of the above goes for these positions too.
You have to document every phone call and appointment. In a given day, if you simply run a report or two or only see one customer, you won't make it through the merger. This goes for employees from both companies. Merck has observed too much wasted time and redundancy. They realize one person can do the work of three in most cases. Oh well, this should all be hashed out by first quarter 2010.
Please no bashing replies to my message, I am simply telling you folks how Mother Merck flippin' tracks everyone.
One more thing. Merck employees are known to narc on fellow reps if they suspect someone is slacking. It is not uncommon for someone in the field to send an observation report to HQ detailing things such as a reps car in the driveway four days a week before 4:00 PM. This will activate the monitoring process and then you are done. You will know you are being tracked when you turn your company vehicle satellite radio on. Turn to channel 247 (Emergency alert channel) and it will beep three times before you hear audio.
At Merck we call it the "termination beep". Most reps with these new cars turn to this channel a few times per day to check their fate. After that HQ will ping your cell and computer to document location. If they verify their suspicion they will have you followed for a few days. Merck thinks nothing of paying a grand to a PI to have someone followed. In the long term it saves the company money and builds a case if the rep files a wrongful termination suit. Having a third party investigate solidifies the case further.
-- /s/ Former Merck HQ Security
(back in sales now)
If even remotely accurate -- Not. My. Cup. Of. Tea.
UPDATED @ 1:20 PM EDT
An anonymous comment disputes the account posted on CafePharma, above, thus:
. . . .Definitely not true. Here are some refuting facts:• Company-issued cell phones were distributed back when cell phones were just coming out. They even offered PDAs, but those too were meant for convenience and accessibility. But now employees just use their regular phones, though managers and above have the option of opting for a company-issued phone.
• Computer monitoring isn't nearly as over-the-top as suggested. They do unique allow [sic] the computer to authenticate in [sic] the servers, though, as you'd expect.
• Drug test was conducted prior to employment and I have *not* had to take one since. Contractors, however, are required to take annual drug screening.
• There definitely is NOT auditing of phone calls. Nor is your position tracked wherever you go.
Of course, I realize anything an anonymous poster puts here won't have any credibility or bearing on your bias. But I figured I'd at least let you know.
-- /s/ Merck field IT/engineer,
at West Point Plant
September 5, 2009 1:05 PM. . .
Bias? Me? Nah. . . .