Just loving this!

Just loving this!

Diabetic Investor has long had a great deal of respect for field sales forces as unlike the executives at corporate headquarters these people are on the front lines and see firsthand what’s really going on in the diabetes market. It has always amazed Diabetic Investor how little management paid attention to their reps and constantly micromanaged nearly every aspect of their daily routines.  To be completely fair these people aren’t easy to please as they always seem to believe that management is dumber than a box of rocks and they have all the answer if management would just listen. The truth as usual lies between the two extremes.

Yet lately Diabetic Investor has been amused by glucose monitoring reps in particular, now the rational among them and yes there are a few who are rational, have seen the handwriting on the wall for some time. Early on they witnessed how the market was transforming from a medical device to a commodity market. They realized quickly there were too many meters on the market and that all the whiz bang technology in the world could not change one fundamental fact – price was the only thing that mattered. The rational reps are actually quite surprised that there are still four major branded players and that none of the so-called majors have excited the business.

Still it is the irrational reps, by far the majority, who are the most fun to listen to.  The best way to describe this group has to be overly schizophrenic, paranoid or both. To fully appreciate this group here is just a small sampling of what Diabetic Investor has been hearing- Abbott (NYSE:ABT) has already made the decision to exit the BGM market which will happen sometime next year – no wait since things are so bad Abbott has already stop paying their lower performing reps in an attempt to save money- no wait Abbott’s new technology will save this floundering division and bring them back to prominence (this is a truly delusional statement as Abbott was never prominent in BGM)

Let’s not stop there as Bayer reps are just as nutty – now as everyone knows Bayer has been trying to sell their BGM unit – thought they had a deal with Sanofi (NYSE:SNY) who ultimately backed out – which proves to Diabetic Investor sometimes the best decisions a company makes is no decision at all even if the reason  for this non- decision is that Sanofi couldn’t make a real decision if their life depended on it – yet we digress – getting back to Bayer reps – since they really have nothing better to do most of the their time is spent who will be dumb enough to buy the unit and when – the current betting line favorite remains – wait for it – Sanofi.

Perhaps it’s because Roche has made it their mission to take a billion dollar franchise and turn it into a million dollar franchise that their reps seem resigned to the fact that the fat lady is warming up and it’s a matter of time before they get their severance packages. Still it was truly funning when rumors began spreading in the field that company was about to acquire – wait for it- MannKind (NASDAQ:MNKD) – now just how this would help their diabetes device unit is beyond rational thought but then again these aren’t exactly the most rational people on the planet.

Now one just might think being the market leader reps for LifeScan, a unit of Johnson and Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), would be fairly content- think again. Given all the recent layoffs it’s hard to blame the survivors for being just a little paranoid that they too are about to lose their jobs. These survivors have made it their mission to second guess management at every turn believing that the mother ship is getting set to jettison the entire diabetes franchise. While this ultimately may be the case Diabetic Investor wouldn’t suggest anyone holding their breath waiting for this to happen for if there is one thing that can be counted on with JNJ is they never make any decision quickly unless of course that decision means cutting their field sale force.

To be quite honest Diabetic Investor is just loving this as listening to these reps is like being a kid on Christmas morning unwrapping their presents. Yet we also know that as irrational as many of these reps are there is a shade of truth in parts of what they say. This people may be just a little crazy but as the old saying goes they just might be crazy like a fox in a hen house.