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Doctoral Sales - IELTS Reading Sample with Explanation
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Rituparna Nath

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IELTS reading sample of Flying Tortoises is the IELTS Academic Reading Cambridge 6 Test 4, Reading Passage 1. IELTS reading sample Doctoral Sales talks about the unethical relationship between medical representatives and doctors, how the medical reps bribe doctors and institutions with free meals and holiday trips, to sell their products. The IELTS reading sample questions and answers on Doctoral Sales contains two types of questions and their solutions:

  • Match the headings
  • True/False/Not Given

 To understand how to answer the questions of the passage, check  IELTS reading sample papers with explanations.

IELTS Reading Sample - Doctoral Sales

  1. A few months ago Kim Schaefer, sales representative of a minor global pharmaceutical company, walked into a medical center in New York to bring information and free samples of her company's latest products. That day she was lucky- a doctor was available to see her. 'The last rep offered me a trip to Florida. What do you have?' the physician asked. He was only half-joking.
  2. What was on offer that day was a pair of tickets for a New York musical. But on any given day what Schaefer can offer is typical for today's drugs rep -a car trunk full of promotional gifts and gadgets, a budget that could buy lunches and dinners for a small county, hundreds of free drug samples, and the freedom to give a physician $200 to prescribe her new product to the next six patients who fit the drug's profile. And she also has a few $ 1,000 honoraria to offer in exchange for doctors' attendance at her company's next educational lecture.
  3. Selling Pharmaceuticals is a daily exercise in ethical judgment. Salespeople like Schaefer walk the line between the common practice of buying a prospect's time with a free meal and bribing doctors to prescribe their drugs. They work in an industry highly criticized for its sales and marketing practices, but find themselves in the middle of the age-old chicken-or-egg question - businesses won't use strategies that don't work, so are doctors to blame for the escalating extravagance of pharmaceutical marketing? Or is it the industry's responsibility to decide the boundaries?
  4. The explosion in the sheer number of salespeople in the Reid- and the amount of funding used to promote their causes- forces close examination of the pressures, influences, and relationships between drug reps and doctors. Salespeople provide much-needed information and education to physicians. In many cases, the glossy brochures, article reprints and prescriptions they deliver are primary sources of drug education for healthcare givers. vVith the huge investment the industry has placed in face-to-face selling, salespeople have essentially become specialists in one drug or group of drugs - a tremendous advantage in getting the attention of busy doctors in need of quick information
  5. But the sales push rarely stops in the office. The flashy brochures and pamphlets left by the sales reps are often followed up with meals at expensive restaurants, meetings in warm and sunny places, and an inundation of promotional gadgets. Rarely do patients watch a doctor write with a pen that isn't emblazoned with a drug's name, or see a nurse use a tablet not bearing a pharmaceutical company's logo. Millions of dollars are spent by pharmaceutical companies on promotional products like coffee mugs, shirts, umbrellas, and golf balls. Money well spent? It's hard to tell. I've been the recipient of golf balls from one company and I use them, but it doesn't make me prescribe their medicine,' says one doctor.' I tend to think I'm not influenced by what they give me.'
  6. Free samples of new and expensive drugs might be the single most effective way of getting doctors and patients to become loyal to a product. Salespeople hand out hundreds of dollars' worth of samples each week-$7.2 billion worth of them in one year. Though few comprehensive studies have been conducted, one by the University of Washiington investigated how drug sample availability affected what physicians prescribe. A total of 131 doctors self-reported their prescribing patterns-the conclusion was that the availability of samples led them to dispense and prescribe drugs that differed from their preferred drug choice.
  7. The bottom line is that pharmaceutical companies as a whole invest more in marketing than they do in research and development. And patients are the ones who pay-in the form of sky-rocketing prescription prices for every pen that's handed out, every free theatre ticket, and every steak dinner eaten. In the end, the fact remains that pharmaceutical companies have every right to make a profit and will continue to find new ways to increase sales. But as the medical world continues to grapple with what's acceptable and what's not, it is clear that companies must continue to be heavily scrutinized for their sales and marketing strategies.

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Questions 1-7

Reading Passage I has seven paragraphs, A-G.

Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below.

Write the correct number, i-x, in boxes 1-7 on your answer sheet.

List of Headings

  1. Not all doctors are persuaded
  2. Choosing the best offers
  3. Who is responsible for the increase in promotions?
  4. Fighting the drug companies
  5. An example of what doctors expect from drug companies
  6. Gifts include financial incentives
  7. Research shows that promotion works
  8. The high costs of research
  9. The positive side of drug promotion
  10. Who really pays for doctors' free gifts?
  1. Paragraph A
  2. Paragraph B
  3. Paragraph C
  4. Paragraph D
  5. Paragraph E
  6. Paragraph F
  7. Paragraph G

(Guide: To answer the match the heading questions of IELTS reading section, you need to understand the main concepts of each paragraph, and distinguish between the main and subordinate ideas of the passage.

Tip: There are more headings than needed, so be careful which ones you are choosing. Reading the headings before reading the passage will save time. Understand the headings before matching them with paragraphs. Be careful about the question and answer numbers. )

Answer 1: v

Keyword Location: Paragraph A; Line 3

Keyword: ‘The last rep offered me a trip to Florida. What do you have?’ the physician asked. He was only half-joking.

Explanation: This keyword precisely explains what the doctors expect from the drug companies - trips and even better gifts.

Answer 2: vi

Keyword Location: Paragraph B; Line 2

Keyword: a car trunk full of promotional gifts and gadgets, a budget that could buy lunches and dinners for a small country, hundreds of free drug samples, and the freedom to give a physician $200 to prescribe her new product to the next six patients who fit the drug’s profile.

Explanation: This keyword describes the financial incentives, in particular, therefore making it the correct answer.

Answer 3: iii

Keyword Location: Paragraph C; Line 2

Keyword: work in an industry highly criticized for its sales and marketing practices, businesses won’t use strategies that don’t work, so are doctors to blame for the escalating extravagance of pharmaceutical marketing, Or is It the industry’s responsibility

Explanation: The keyword explains how pharmaceutical marketing demands excessive promotions and that the doctors are also to be blamed for it.

Answer 4: ix

Keyword Location: Paragraph D; Line 2 – 4

Keyword: Salespeople provide much-needed information and education to physicians, primary sources of drug education for healthcare givers, huge investment the industry has placed in face-to-face selling, salespeople have essentially become specialists In one drug or group of drugs – a tremendous advantage In getting the attention of busy doctors in need of quick information.

Explanation: This answer is correct because it directly states how salespeople provide education to caregivers and health workers. Also the brochures, reprints are of utmost use to their knowledge.

Answer 5: i

Keyword Location: Paragraph E; Line 6

Keyword: ‘I’ve been the recipient of golf balls from one company and I use them, but it doesn’t make me prescribe their medicine,’ says one doctor. ‘I tend to think I’m not influenced by what they give me.’

Explanation: This statement by one of the doctors clearly states how not every doctor is easily persuaded by the gifts.

Answer 6: vii

Keyword Location: Paragraph F; Line 3

Keyword: few comprehensive studies have been conducted, one by the University of Washington, Investigated how drug sample availability affected what physicians prescribe.

Explanation: This keyword helps in understanding that doctors do prescribe medicines that they’ve received samples of. This has also made a difference in their prescriptions.

Answer 7: x

Keyword Location: Paragraph G; Line 2

Keyword: patients are the ones who pay – in the form of sky-rocketing prescription prices – for every pen that’s handed out, every free theatre ticket, and every steak dinner is eaten.

Explanation: This is the correct explanation as it states that patients are the ones paying for the bills and pharma companies will continue to do a profitable business.

Also check

Questions 8-13

Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in Reading Passage 151?

In boxes 8-13 on your answer sheet, write

YES if the statement agrees with the views of the writer

NO if the statement contradicts the views of the writer

NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks

  1. Sales representatives like Kim Schaefer work to a very limited budget.
  2. Kim Schaefer's marketing technique may be open to criticism on moral grounds.
  3. The information provided by drug companies is of little use to doctors.
  4. Evidence of drug promotion is clearly visible in the healthcare environment.
  5. The drug companies may give free drug samples to patients without doctors' prescriptions
  6. It is legitimate for drug companies to make money.

(Guide: To answer the true or false IELTS reading type questions, you need to read the passage and identify specific information. You need to understand the opinion of the author and understand the given information.

Tip: Use paraphrasing of the given information and the answer options. If you find a supporting sentence, the answer is YES; if you find an opposing sentence, the answer is NO; and if there is no relevant information, the answer is NOT GIVEN. The answers usually come in order. )

Answer 8: NO

Keyword Location: Paragraph B; Line 2 – 3

Keyword: what Schaefer can offer is typical for today’s drugs rep – a car trunk full of promotional gifts and gadgets, a budget that could buy lunches and dinners for a small country, hundreds of free drug samples and the freedom to give a physician $200 to prescribe her new product to the next six patients who fit the drug’s profile, a few $ 1,000 honoraria to offer in exchange for doctors’ attendance at her company’s next educational lecture.

Explanation: The explanation perfectly states that Schaefer doesn’t work with limited budgets as they’ve been allotted way too many resources to crack the deal with the doctors.

Answer 9: YES

Keyword Location: Paragraph C; Lines 1 – 2

Keyword: Selling pharmaceuticals is a daily exercise, ethical judgment. Salespeople like Schaefer walk the line between the common practice of buying a prospect’s time with a free meal, and bribing doctors to prescribe their drugs.

Explanation: This describes how the work done is partially unethical and involves bribery making the quoted lines perfect for the explanation.

Answer 10: NO

Keyword Location: Paragraph D; Line 2

Keyword: Salespeople provide much-needed information and education to physicians.

Explanation: The information received from salespeople provides valuable knowledge to the physicians as has been stated in the keyword.

Answer 11: YES

Keyword Location: Paragraph E; Line 3

Keyword: Rarely do patients watch a doctor write with a pen that Isn’t emblazoned with a drug’s name, or see a nurse use a tablet not bearing a pharmaceutical company’s logo.

Explanation: Drug promotion is highly noticed and the given statement supports the question in every way.

Answer 12: NOT GIVEN

Answer 13: YES

Keyword Location: Paragraph G; Line 3

Keyword: In the end the fact remains that pharmaceutical companies have every right to make a profit and will continue to find new ways to increase sales.

Explanation: Pharma companies will continue to make a profit and do business, and that is legitimate. The statement provides the right information to support it.


 

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