It's a reps life

August 22 2017

I work as a pharmaceutical rep covering the coast of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. This means I spend much of my time driving along scenic coastal routes and enjoying amazing summer weather all year round.
It also means that I wait around in hospital corridors a lot, hoping to bump into doctors or pharmacists. I get an inside peek at the good, bad and ugly of private healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry. Some of the stuff I see makes me VERY nervous of getting ill and someday needing the services of doctors/hospitals. When you get a prescription from a doctor, it’s possible he’s written up that drug because the drug company provided him with an expensive gift or sponsorship to an overseas congress. There are regulations in place to stop this kind of perverse incentive, but consistent implementation is lacking. It’s wise to read up about your meds and get other opinions. On the other hand I’m very respectful of the good work many doctors do.

What makes me sad is that the current health industry is completely profit driven. There’s way too much emphasis on treating diseases with expensive drugs, while the less-profitable prevention-measures get little or no support.

My 12 years in the pharmaceutical industry have taught me to be wary of the amount of chemicals we unwittingly expose ourselves to: in our skin lotions, perfumes, nail polish, toothpaste, shampoos and conditioners…way more exposure than our ancestors had. I’m also aware that pesticides are routinely sprayed on MOST of our fruit and vegetables. These pesticides are known carcinogens and endocrine disrupters, yet we as consumers are left in the dark about the horrible effects of years of eating these foods. I believe this is why cancer is so prevalent. After learning this, I’ve switched to pesticide-free or organic food for my family as far as I possibly can. I’ve also reduced the amount of meat in my diet, and I choose free-range hormone-free options. I make my own toothpaste (equal quantities of turmeric powder, coconut oil and sodium bicarbonate). I use sandalwood paste to exfoliate my skin, organic rose water as a toner and coconut oil as a moisturizer. My monthly cosmetics cost me less than 50 rands (roughly 4 US dollars).

My country is a beautiful place. My home is in Durban (on the east coast), and is a city comparable to paradise! We enjoy excellent warm weather all year round, incredible beaches, friendly people and amazing food at incredibly low prices. “Durban curry” is legendary (if you can handle the heat!), and our “Bunny Chow” is not to be missed! Some people believe that lions and other wild animals roam around our country. This is a misconception…South Africa is a rapidly developing country with most of the usual modern infrastructure already in place. You can view wild animals only within protected game reserves. Crime is not as big a deal as is portrayed in the media: most of us feel safe and don’t think about crime very often. The Rainbow Nation has a lot to offer, if you get an opportunity to travel, come visit South Africa. [email protected]

Durban, South Africa
[email protected]

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