After reading a recent article from Dr. Samuel Grief, MD (associate professor of clinical family medicine, medical director, campus care, at the University of Illinois, Chicago), I must admit I was left wondering about the fate of pharmaceutical sales jobs. Dr. Grief’s position isn’t necessarily mean or even inaccurate, but the sting is still there. The world has changed in the last decade and the role of the pharmaceutical sales rep has been put on the spot.
While Dr. Grief does a good job of pointing out the not so attractive side of being a pharma rep, he doesn’t offer much in the way of transition. Sure, some reps may have been guilty of trading lunches for more prescriptions, but wasn’t that in the job description? Perhaps, but the job description has changed and if you want to make it as a pharma rep these days you’ve got to evolve.
Today’s pharma reps need to have fewer bagels and more knowledge. Even if you’re looking to get out of pharma and move into something new, like biotech sales jobs, you need to turn it up a bit. a background in science will certainly help your cause, but being knowledgeable about your product is key. That doesn’t mean you need to be able to regurgitate the sales brochure. You need to study the products and be able to answer questions your doctors may have. Beyond that, you need to be able to help your doctors understand which questions they need to be asking.
Pharmaceutical sales is changing. There’s no argument there. The question is how will you adapt to the changing environment?
You can read Dr. Grief’s full article over at American Medical News.