THE HIGH HEELS RHYTHMICALLY BROADCAST LUCINDA EVANS’ ARRIVAL, AS SHE MARCHED into the doctor’s surgery. She approached the receptionist and fixed her with a gaze that demanded attention.
Rosemary looked Lucinda up and down, taking in the elegant clothes and expensive business suit.
“How can I help you?”
“I need to see Dr Davenport.”
“Do you have an appointment?”
“I’m afraid Dr Davenport is all booked up today. Let me see if she can fit you in tomorrow.”
“I’ll see Dr Davenport as soon as she’s finished with her current patient. I have some important information for her, and it can’t wait.” It was a statement, not a request.
Rosemary was trying to make up her mind how to respond when the door to Dr Davenport’s surgery opened, and her patient left. Lucinda walked in. As she entered, she extended her hand.
“Good morning Dr Davenport. Lucinda Evans. I represent the Grosvenor Pharmaceutical Corporation.”
Susan Davenport automatically shook the outstretched hand, although she was sure she hadn’t scheduled a meeting with any pharmaceutical reps. Susan was about to query her when Ms Evans continued,
“I won’t waste your time. We would like you to run a general practice clinical trial of our new diabetes drug, Millimax. The drug has initial approval from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency here in the UK, but we need further trials to fully determine its efficacy before we seek approvals in Europe and the States. We will, of course, pay you and this practice for your work. We would like you to come to our head office next Friday to discuss this in more detail.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t have time to do clinical trials.” Susan just wanted to get rid of this well-dressed intruder. “Now, if you don’t mind, I have a long list of patients waiting for me.”
“We understand you are very busy and might be reluctant to undertake clinical trials. We are confident, however, that when you see the nature of our work, you will want to be involved. We will, of course, provide a well-qualified locum for next Friday so you can come to our office, and we will also provide transport. Naturally, we will pay you a consulting fee for next Friday. We believe a fee of five thousand pounds should be acceptable?”
“How much?” Susan was desperately trying to absorb all this unexpected information, but the sum of five thousand pounds definitely registered. She was up to her eyeballs in bills and barely able to pay the mortgage after her ex-husband left her with huge debts.
“How do I know this is legal?” Nobody got paid five thousand pounds just for a meeting.
“The Grosvenor Corporation is 100% legitimate. You can look us up on Google. I should also mention that we undertook considerable research about you and your practice before we made this approach. I believe we have discovered some interesting personal information about your history, but I don’t know all the details.”
“What do you mean? How dare you intrude on my personal life.” Susan was irritated but also intrigued. What information the Grosvenor Corporation had discovered about her?
“I do apologise if our research may appear to be intrusive, but we try to be thorough in everything we do. Here is my card. Please ring me if you can’t make it next Friday. Otherwise, I will pick you up at ten. Thank you for your time.” With that, she turned and walked out of the surgery with the same rhythmic beat of her heels, leaving no time for Susan to respond.
“What the hell was all that about?” Susan had a natural reaction to being anti any big pharmaceutical company, especially one now digging into her personal life, but the prospect of earning an extra five thousand pounds, and discovering some new personal information about herself, was a carrot too big to refuse. She knew she would go next Friday, but at the same time, she knew she'd been played.