Pharmaceutical rep pays $1 million for medical rep,but he is not a drug rep
On a Thursday morning, the chief medical officer of Merrimack Pharma, Mike Hickey, walks into a room packed with dozens of executives.
As he enters, he is met with a sea of red, white and blue pillows, all with names and images that have long been associated with the company’s name: The M&Ms of Merrimmack.
The company has been one of the nation’s most successful drug companies for years, but its chief executive, Merrifield-based Dr. Robert Hickey is facing a potential takeover.
Hickey has a reputation as a shrewd negotiator and a talented administrator who has worked at Merrimacks top rival, the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
His first job out of medical school, at Merrheim-Barrett, was to negotiate a merger with Abbott Laboratories, which was then known as Abbott Laboratories Laboratories Inc. In 2000, Hickey was appointed chief executive of Merimack, and his tenure as chief executive led to the birth of the brand.
But as Hickey began to face the possibility of being taken over by Pfizer or other big pharmaceutical companies in the wake of the blockbuster hepatitis C drug Sovaldi, he was determined to remain independent and to remain a drug sales rep at Merrilacks own facility in Milton.
“We are not in business to sell you something, Dr. Hiestand,” he said.
Hestand, a former federal prosecutor, was appointed CEO of Merrilack by Pfizers board in December 2013.
It took a year and a half for Hiestands appointment to be approved.
The takeover was officially announced on Nov. 23, 2016.
As Hiestandi stepped into the Merrimash office, the reception was warm and welcoming, with smiles and hugs being exchanged.
“I’m a drug store, I’m a pharmacy, and I’m Merrimak,” Hiestanda said.
“And I want to be able to stay at Merrillacks side.
Hieland had worked for Merrimass in the past as a pharmacy rep. “
So, I will be able continue working with Merrimans patients, with its doctors, and its pharmacists,” he added.
Hieland had worked for Merrimass in the past as a pharmacy rep.
“The pharma reps have a long history of being great negotiators, working with the companies they work for, and having a good relationship with the board,” said Mike Osterholm, president and CEO of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, which defines Merriman as “a person who deals in drug distribution and manufacturing.”
Osterholt said the Merrims reputation for negotiating successfully and successfully is “the best in the industry.”
“When Merriams CEO said he wanted to sell us on Merrimades products, that’s what he said, and that’s exactly what we wanted,” Ostermoensen said.
But the Merrilands brand is not without controversy.
In recent years, Merrimas chief executive has been involved in a series of high-profile scandals, including allegations of inappropriate behavior by a pharma rep, allegations that a pharmacist gave patients a bad reaction to a flu shot, and an investigation into the death of a man who died of an overdose at a Merrimands clinic.
The pharmacy rep controversy arose in 2014 after Hiestis office discovered that a Merriland pharmacist was under investigation for allegedly giving a pharmaid patient an overdose.
Hilyands office found that pharmacist John McEwen was using a drug distribution program at Merriums Milton facility to provide the wrong flu shot.
Merrilamis board then suspended McEwans job and ultimately fired him.
“Our company has had a history of drug-related controversies in the last few years,” Osterson said.
When the news first broke that Hiestwas looking to take over Merrimamans operations, the reaction from the community was not positive.
“People were outraged,” Ostonsaid.
But Hiestans response to the backlash was quick.
“It wasn’t really a public response at all.
It was just a reaction that was very personal, and it was very emotional for us,” Oterholm said.
Merrillays chief medical office has also been in the news for its role in the recent death of Aaron Dornberger, a 23-year-old man who overdosed in Merrimams Milton facility.
According to police, Dornberg was hospitalized for a respiratory infection on Feb. 12, 2016, after being exposed to Merrilams products and had been treated for the flu.
The case was not widely reported at the time.
Merrimannis board suspended Dornbergers job and later reinstated him.
Hierands actions to deal with the controversy did not sit well with some of his peers.
“As soon as you