Medical Representative: A challenging career
There is no gainsaying the fact that medical drugs are of utmost importance in our day to day life. Advent of newer diseases and frenetic pace of medical research to counter them has resulted into an increasing variety of drugs. These drugs are manufactured and marketed by several manufacturing companies under different brand names that has pushed the competition to cut throat level. Medical representatives are employed by pharmaceutical companies as their agent in the market to convince the consumers and doctors about the effectiveness of their product. In a nutshell medical representatives play an instrumental role in the marketing of drugs. They are employed to boost the sales. Besides handsome salary and promotional avenues the field does have a bit of glamour also.
Trends in the industry
The Indian pharmaceutical industry is one of the fast growing sectors of the Indian economy and has made rapid strides over the years. It ranks among the top-15 drug manufacturing countries in the world. The global output of the Indian industry ranks 4th in terms of volume and 13th in terms of value. This $6 billion (Rs. 27 thousand Crore) Indian Pharmaceutical industry has shown tremendous progress in infrastructure development, technology base and wide range of products. According to the Mckinsey study, Indian Pharma industry is poised to grow to US$ 25 billion (Rs.112.5 thousand crores) by 2010. At present, about 23,000 pharmacy companies are operating in India, of which, 260 constitutes organized sector, while others exist in the small-scale sector. Some of the major names include Ranbaxy, Sun Pharma, and Dr. Reddy’s Cipla, Wockhardt Limited, Nicholas Piramal, Aventis, Glaxo Smithkline, Novartis, Dr. Morepen and Pfizer.
A medical representative can make a very promising career in pharmaceutical marketing on the basis of his sales performance and ability to manage customers. His sales performance is assessed on the basis of his ability for achieve targets fixed by the company. He can rise to the posts of :
Area Manger; Regional/zonal manager; Divisional sales manager/ Divisional Controller; Dy. Marketing/ Dy. Sales Manager; Marketing/Sales Manager.
Promotion to the next higher position is purely on merit. Those having a degree in Pharmacy can also be promoted on the manufacturing side as (i) Product Manager, (ii) Group Product Manager, and (iii) Marketing Manager. A medical representative who has a flair for marketing and can show extra-ordinary results can rise to the highest position of marketing manager.
What to do
Although a degree in Pharmacy or science with biology is preferred, any degree holder with a flair for selling and one who can deliver the goods is considered suitable. Appointments are made mainly by selection/interview in response to advertisements which appear in leading newspapers. While established Pharmaceuticals companies prefer 1 or 2 years experience as Medical Representative, other may not consider it essential.
After selection, a medical representative is generally given special skill development training of varying duration by various companies. Theoretical training is provided on anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, salesmanship, profile of Indian doctors, product knowledge followed by field training I which he is familiarized with selling techniques. During field training, a fresher is supposed to work with a senior Medical Representative who, in turn, demonstrates the practical aspects of the job.