Confessions of an RX Drug Pusher Paperback – Apr 23 2009
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Perhaps I was naive, but during pharmacy school and years of work at a large county hospital, I found that I actually believed my profession was honorable and that I was part of a giant team focused on helping people be healthy and get well when illness struck. This was surely the ideal in school, and I assumed things actually operated that way.
Gwen Olsen's book is exactly as the title says, a CONFESSION. She has done a clear, masterful job describing how she unwittingly lived through the horrors of a harmful, dysfunctional family and found herself enmeshed in an industry where she was expected to make sales at any cost. Concern for an ill person was not part of her work paradigm.
The author not only lived through the personal and business issues but exited from both, apparently still intact. After my first reading of "Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher", I described it to friends as terrifying and almost sickening. That description remains valid. More important than the story is the reports of experience, learning, and growth that shaped this author into a perfect spokesperson for all of us who find ourselves in direct opposition to the antics of the drug companies. If I hadn't had direct experience with the issues Olsen describes in her book, I might think she was engaged in fiction, not reporting fact. Sadly, she's right on track. Her tale is still terrifying, but you should read it - maybe more than once. You may begin to understand that it has never been the intent of any drug maker to improve health. Instead, their goal has always been to maximize profits at the expense of health.
Her work is scrupulously researched and very balanced as she tries to find answers to the events that led to the death of her young niece. At the same time she begins to question her work as a "drug salesman" and begins to question the ethos of the health care system. Could the same drugs that she had been selling be harmful to the brain chemistry of people, perhaps permanently? Olsen gives a balanced view of the factors that led to the violent suicide of this young soul. It is not an attack on the pharmaceutical industry, but an honest account by someone who is brave enough to have broken away from what was a lucrative career in order to find truth.
Having left pharmaceutical research myself, for reasons similar to what Olsen describes, I can relate very closely to what she says. Now, working in clinical practice, I see the devastating effects that prescribed medicines can cause. This is a book that I will be recommending to many patients that come through my door.
At one point I lied to my psychiatrist, and stopped taking all meds he prescribed. I refused to take blood tests to find levels and ignored many attempts to try 'new' samples of medication. During the time period of not taking psych medication I started to gain strength and heal with talk therapy. No psych drugs needed. Why did I do this? Because, while on psych drugs I felt lethargic, suicidal, fatigued and lived with no hope. At first, I was afraid to share this information with the same doctors who were treating me because according to my insurance guideline I must be medicated to receive benefits. I was outraged, intimidated and manipulated into buying un-necessary medication and storing un-used meds in my medicine cabinet just to get my medical bills paid by insurance and continue to receive psychiatric help...
I am doing well today. My therapy lasted eighteen years and yes, I was a mess. But I healed by working with my therapist and doctors to my individual needs. Without a toxic combination of drugs.
I am a survivor of multiple personality disorder. I now see a holistic doctor and never felt better physically and mentally in my life. The mind is powerful and I am a true believer in less is more.
In reading this book it not only confirmed my belief but has helped me understand the world of a rx drug sales rep. I am sorry about the loss of Gwen's niece to suicide but glad to read a book that all doctors should read if they are to understand and help their patients get well. My doctors worked with "Me" to heal me. Once I questioned them they each helped me heal without medication. I am grateful to them for that. Patients truly need to be their own advocates.
I would love to talk more with the author about my experiences...
Karen Overhill Co-Author of my story, "Switching Time" by Author Richard Baer