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A Career In Pharmaceutical Sales

Aug 17, 2007
A pharmaceutical sales career can be very lucrative, as this field offers tremendous salary potential, along with an opportunity for growth. This field is popularly known as 'recession proof'. It is one of the largest, and certainly the fastest, growing businesses in the world. There are over 83,000 pharmaceutical sales representatives in the United States currently.

Job Profile Of A Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

As a pharmaceutical sales representative, you will have to sell scientifically advanced products in a professional environment, to physicians, hospital personnel, pharmacists or patient advocacy groups. This sales job can be divided into a few sectors:

Prescription Drugs: The majority of pharmaceutical sales representatives work in this field. Their target customers are specialist doctors or family physicians, depending on the drug that is being promoted. Big pharmaceutical companies usually require sales representatives to promote their products. Each sales representative can endorse at least three main drugs, along with a few secondary products, for the promoted products. In addition, sales representatives need to make special efforts to promote newer drugs, because the patent protections of new drugs run out fast. Companies focusing on niche specialty drugs put their sales force towards specific medical specialists as the target customer, rather than doctors who are engaged in general practice.

Generic Drugs: Companies dealing in generic drugs, market products that are similar to branded drugs that are successful in the market. They do not target physicians, but concentrate on pharmacies.

Over The Counter Products: Many companies sell cough and cold remedies and analgesics, also known as non-prescription drugs, as over the counter products. Sales representatives selling these products need to call on family physicians to promote these.

As a pharmaceutical sales representative, you can also take look into sales jobs such as service sales representatives or system marketers, although scientific knowledge will be less important in these fields. What matters is your sales skills.

Requirements

You do not need to have a medical background to be a pharmaceutical sales representative. You are eligible for his job if you have earned a 4-year college degree with any background. If you do not have a degree, then a good sales record can work in your favor. The most important thing is hard work and determination. However, having a degree in science is an advantage in this field, because a scientific background will be a great help in educating yourself about the product line, and reading and understanding scientific studies about medical products, along with an examination of its applications. As a pharmaceutical sales representative, you need to acquire a professional education as well. You can also take an advanced course in pharmacology, once you step into this industry.

Besides the education, you need to have intellect, stamina and good communication skills, as you will have to convince medical practitioners and business people to buy your company?s products. You will also need to conduct studies related to statistics, data, and other issues occurring in the health community. This field requires teamwork and good presentation skills as well.

Benefits Of This Profession

This profession has the advantage of flexible working hours, good financial rewards, and the independence to manage things on your own by being your own boss. If you get a job in a good company, you can enjoy bright career prospects, and sales training in new and exciting locales. Additionally, you will get the various benefits good companies provide, like a car, along with the freedom to set your day according to your way, as long as you produce good results.

The pharmaceutical sales representative profession can be a very profitable career option if you are ready to pursue it with zeal, determination and interest.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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