How to Become a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
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Pharmaceutical sales representatives educate physicians and other medication-prescribing professionals on new developments in the rapidly advancing pharmaceutical industry. They connect providers with the knowledge, drugs and treatments necessary to provide cutting-edge care to their patients. They also work to educate physicians, pharmacists, health care facilities and consumers about new pharmaceutical products.
Pharmaceutical sales reps, also known as pharma reps or PSRs, have an excellent understanding of pharmacology вЂ“ the science of medications and their effects on the human body. When selling a new product, they must be able to describe its chemistry, method of action, side effects and potential interactions with other drugs. By specializing in a certain group or class of pharmaceuticals such as cardiac or psychiatric drugs, PSRs can deepen their knowledge base, making them more valuable to healthcare providers and more effective at promoting their products.
Most PSRs are salespeople who work on commission within a certain geographic territory. In this role, they schedule and attend sales meetings with health care providers, follow leads and cultivate new customers for the company. They may also attend industry conferences, speak at provider events and conduct continuing education sessions for medical professionals. In addition to their sales duties, many PSRs conduct field research on behalf of their employers. They may be responsible for monitoring physiciansвЂ™ prescription patterns or gauging reactions to a new treatment.
Experienced PSRs enjoy the intellectual challenge the job provides. Because the pharmaceutical industry advances rapidly, there are always new products to research. Reps find great satisfaction in educating stakeholders about exciting advances at the forefront of medicine and bringing new and sometimes life-saving treatments to the public.
Though they may work in a home- or company-based office, pharmaceutical sales representatives spend much of their time on the road visiting physiciansвЂ™ offices, hospitals and nursing homes. Pharma reps work independently and have considerable freedom to set their own schedules. However, because their pay is commission-based, they need to put in a significant number of hours. Reps often spend their evenings and weekends at conferences and networking events where they can develop contacts for future sales.