6 Top Reasons To Work As Sales Rep For Big Pharmaceutical Companies

Have you gone through the 30 items on the medical sales responsibilities list? If you haven't, do give it a quick run through before we proceed with today's discussion. Your awareness with what a rep has to deliver day in and out helps much towards understanding this profession.

Once you gain the understanding also, you'll appreciate the reasons why you need to work with Pharma Company that provides better resources to carry out those responsibilities.

If you're thinking of working in the pharma industry, if you have never work in one before, consider these six reasons to take job positions with big pharmaceutical sales companies:

1) Strong products brand.
Strong branding makes it easier to promote to target customers. Often time, it just takes a quick reminder to prompt them to buy.

2) Useful sales and how to sell a lesson.
These companies do not sit on top position by chance. They're profit-driven, and sales drive profit. Learn and profit from their system while you can.

3) Coaching and mentoring program.
It's an opportunity to be able to learn from the best in the industry. Identify and implement best sales practice that put them ahead of medical sales reps pack.

4) Relatively good remuneration package.
These are strictly referring to incentives, claimable expenses, outstation allowances, and the like.

5) Possible career advancement.
Big companies do expand. When they do, their people stand to ride along. And that means potential for career advancement, whenever applicable.

6) Value added to the CV.
Let us face it. Medical representatives have the tendency to change job couple of times throughout their career. When they do, that experience working for top pharmaceutical companies counts, big time ...

There are many ways one can look as advantages to working with big pharma companies. These six are just starters, perhaps, just touch the surface.

Of course, this is not to say working for less popular companies in pharma is a disadvantage.

It might be on the contrary.

What Causes Big Pharma To Co-Promote With Or Acquire Small Pharma?

Why am I even bother to write about pharma co-promotion or takeover, considering these topics can cross into unique kinds of stuff, and let's face it - they're a bit boring?

For once, I see that these issues affect the current and future job condition for the medical sales rep. I mean, no merger or takeover goes without human "sacrifices," and the favorite pick is, without a doubt, the sales and marketing department.

I don't get it, but the top people always see that Sales& Marketing people easily "dispensable."

So, back to the issue at hand:

Here's a recent article about big pharma swapping assets or exercising Merger and Acquisition (M& A).

And here's what I considered as the central point for the article
(with my personal note where necessary):

(What motivate big pharma to join forces or take over small pharma) "...  now it is increasingly about drug companies concentrating on what they do best, and getting out of areas in which they are weak. There is evidence that this is a better route to success ..."

" ... Besides asset-swapping with another big firm, the other obvious way for a drugmaker to build on its areas of strength is to buy small, innovative companies ..."

(This is a cool stat and to be honest, this is the first time I came across such number. Interesting figure. Really.) " ... the best-performing drug companies got more than 70% of their revenues from products that were not developed in-house ..."

(But here's the kicker) " ... Mergers rarely produce significant advances in innovation or research productivity ..." (Ha ha ha! And this is not merely come out from anyone's mouth, but they have study to back this up! How crazy these people are ...)

(And to continue with our join forces and takeover story) " ... The smaller, younger drug firms being bought in such deals can often be better than the pharma giants at thinking up new ways to attack a disease. But they typically lack the expertise to organized clinical trials, deal with regulators and get a drug successfully to market. These are the strengths of the big pharma firms ..."

(And here comes the trust and the highest motivation for all that we've discussed thus far) " ... Not all of the recent rash of pharmaceuticals deals, however, were driven by the quest for new cures for humankind’s ailments. Many have been motivated by a baser desire to cut tax bills ..." (Like they said, there are two certainties in life - death and tax. So, dealing with tax is like addressing a specific life issue. It always has, and it still is.)

(And the final point) " ..  Another motivation for takeovers is to use them as a cover for slashing research costs ..."

For the final point:

We (pharma sales reps) have used that to justify some of the drug prices when detailing to customers. But after a while, it becomes a cliche. Customers were immune to it, and often become irritated to it.

Their thinking was:

"Well, that's your problem, not mine, right?"


But that's just one point, from that particular article, why big pharma is not stopping with their co-promotion or M& A exercise. It's the bane and boon for the pharmaceutical industry.

And I don't recommend pharma for everyone, especially those of you who can't live without secure, monthly salary.

The reason?

Heck! Read the whole article, once more.

Insanely High Profit For Pharma: What's Under The Hood?

Check this article out. It sparks curiosity over the high profit earning reported for pharmaceutical companies:

"Last year, US giant Pfizer, the world's largest drug company by pharmaceutical revenue, made an eye-watering 42% profit margin.
As one industry veteran understandably says: "I wouldn't be able to justify [those kinds of margins]."
Stripping out the one-off $10bn (£6.2bn) the company made from spinning off its animal health business leaves a margin of 24%, still pretty spectacular by any standard.
In the UK, for example, there was widespread anger when the industry regulator predicted energy companies' profit margins would grow from 4% to 8% this year.
Last year, five pharmaceutical companies made a profit margin of 20% or more - Pfizer, Hoffmann-La Roche, AbbVie, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Eli Lilly." [Click to read full article]

The article went to dissect the possible reasons for such high-profit margin including high medicines prices, a secret collaboration with prescribers, and many more.

Does it make my fellow medical sales reps smile when reading this?

I can see some of you already are smiling, but I believe that you smile for a reason, and it does not involve smiling at someone else pain.

You knew very well what they say:

"One man's pain is another man's pleasure."

And many fellow medical sales reps are not smiling too because the sweet time is short-lived. Many pharma companies sales forces are being downsized as we speak. Pharma had its share of good profit, and there's no guarantee, under the current market dynamic, that such high-profit margin will last forever.

Like I said earlier when the dust settles:

Who'll be left to clean it up?

Most of the time, the bottom feeder (that figuratively refers to a sales rep) will be left to clean up the mess. It is not a pretty sight, and it is not a pleasurable job, and it could have been avoided with common sense marketing and sales strategies that do not motivate by 'blind' greed.

Big Bad Pharma: Where The Finger Is Pointing At?

Having been in the pharma industry long enough taught me a few valuable lessons, and one of them is:

The industry is still looking at with high prejudice by the public.

Up until today, there are many write up, formally and informally, that speak about how lousy pharma industry is, and by "bad," I'm not referring to how the industry is doing financially.

Part of our society views pharma companies as the culprit for drugs and diseases manipulation. These companies were referred to as "disease mongers," among others. The public claim that companies were more interested in "selling diseases," than curing them.

I've been through such phase.

I remember one company I used to worked with, whenever prospects object to whatever products we're selling, one way that we're taught to handle it was by asking:

"If you think the cost of treatment is high, try getting sick!"

Does that work?

Well, it depends on prospects and their contexts.

Nothing seems to work all the time anyway, and right now, many pharma companies are looking into fulfilling the "unmet needs."

What exactly is that?

Simply put, it's finding the treatment for diseases that are yet to be seen or getting more specific with the current disease treatments.

Does that sound like a "bad" thing?

YES and NO.

It's not bad if ...

... Pharma companies make it available for real patients to benefit. Medical advancement does come with a price, and someone got to pay for it, and it got to be reasonable.

It's bad if ...

... Making huge profits is what pharma companies can ONLY think about. The recent ruckus about companies not publishing the whole finding from the research is making headlines in major publications.
It gives medical sales a bad name. No doubt about it.

And that brings us to the core for this post:

Earlier on, I've shared about how medical reps were trained to answer the objection, at least by a well-known company, and the same company had taught me (and other sales reps) that, we serve, at least, three parties.

Who are they?

They are:

the company
the community where we operate
the shareholders.

Now, bring your attention to the last party: the shareholders.

All these years I've spent working for pharma companies, I can't recall a specific time when I got to meet the company's shareholders, except for individual companies, where employees were allowed to invest as part of job perks or option for them for joining. When that's the case, almost everyone is the shareholder.

All five pharmaceutical companies I've worked with (one is a medical device or diagnostic company), all were Multinational companies (MNC)...

...and that means, most shareholders were not my fellow countrymen. Two companies were from the US and balance three were from Europe.

As far as the record is a concern, only one company is owned by family members, and that means, strategic business decisions were made by a handful of people.

For the rest of the MNC I used to work before, their shareholders are highly likely, people just like you and me...

...people who allocate part of their income to invest in such portfolio like pharmaceuticals.

And the question is:

Why invest in pharmaceuticals?
Why invest at all?

A famous investment adviser once wrote, there are 3 primary reasons why people invest:

1) To be rich
2) To be secure
3) To be comfortable

Which is the reason for you to invest?

You can bet that, if that's your reason to invest, so are they.

I personally believe, that the main reason for people to become a shareholder with the pharma company, is to grow their money.

In short, they want to be rich:

Wanting to be rich is not bad. It's normal for people wanting more in their life.

As they say:

"Money can't buy happiness, but we can do more with more money. The more, the merrier!"

Wanting more money is natural. That's the main point.

When stakeholders put their money into pharmaceutical companies, it conveys the message that they endorsed what companies will do with the capital invested.

It goes towards paying for research and development...
...it pays for promotion and marketing (that includes funding for my salary)...
...it pays for other business-related activities.

Everything is recorded so that during the stakeholders meeting, they can dispute and argue with companies' decision makers about their investment strategies.

The report is called the prospectus.

Even mutual fund companies can produce such a report twice a year. What more for public-traded companies.

If pharma companies were this "transparent" about their spending and assets, why the public still pointing fingers at them?

This is quite ironic because, part of the investors, were ordinary people, like you and me, with capital invested in these companies...

...and these people know what they were dealing with.

I mean, honestly, I won't put my money into complicated things which only look good on paper.

Will you?

And like I said before, pharma companies strive to please shareholders. It was made known even at the lowest level, like the sales force.

If they knew about it, I could safely say that people who have their money in the company must have known more!

Confucius might not have any investment in pharmaceutical companies, back in those days, but he did say something wise:

"One finger pointing to others, three more pointing back at us."

How's that relate to this issue?

When the public said that big (or small) pharmaceutical companies are wrong, and their existence was merely to "sell disease," they better look over their shoulders.


Maybe, the people they know and care about, have their money invested in such companies.

If they do, that makes them "equally bad" as the pharma companies. They already know what they're dealing with, so scrap the "I am a victim" talk.

If one finger points at a big, lousy pharma company, rest assured that three fingers are pointing back at the public.

Of course, it's easy to play the blame game.

Some people honestly work in the pharma industry, to put food on the table, wrapping decent clothes around their bodies and sending their children to school. They're not interested with the power struggle of board members or increasing profits by leaps and bound through merger and acquisition.

Those words are "alien" to them.

I share their plight, and that's why I feel that "dragging" them into this blame game is unfair.

But that's just me.

Big Pharma And Clinical Data: Now They're Coming At It

Call it whatever you like, but hiding clinical data is too healthy for the pharmaceutical industry.

I mean, other industry might be doing it as well all this while but, perhaps, the consequences from pharma industry are more severe.

How can it not be severe when clinical trials in pharma are done to human beings?

Lately, there has been a strong push from authorities and concerned parties outside the pharmaceutical industry towards more clarity in clinical data which includes publishing whatever finding companies may have for trials.

It's probably hard to comprehend by these "non-commercial" parties though, that by doing so, pharma companies are taking "incalculable risks" ...

... Incalculable because they can't predict what will become of their action.

If it turned out to be OK, phew! ...

... They can continue to the next step to reap their R&D ROI.

But if on the other hand:

If it turned out to be "unfavorable," well, it might be a death penalty if the company is depending on that particular drug to make it to the main stage!

For whatever reason is known or unknown to us, hiding clinical data is "unethical."

Pharma companies know this. Their researchers are well aware of this, and perhaps, the general public has no idea what it is. Sadly, they're going to be affected the most.

Check out an article that touches the issue on clinical data publishing and big pharma who have the intention to hide it:

"... But evidence released earlier this year by Cochrane Collaboration, a London-based nonprofit, shows that a significant amount of negative data from the drug’s clinical trials were hidden from the public. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) knew about it, but the medical community did not; the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which doesn’t have the same access to unpublished data as regulators, had recommended the drug without being able to see the full picture. When results from those unpublished trials finally did emerge, they cast doubt over whether Tamiflu is as effective as the manufacturer says." [Full Article Resource]

I've worked with much big pharma before, and I condemned what some people working there did. They were, and no circumstances, have to choose to hide the data.

But it's not difficult to understand the motive behind such action - GREED!

Big pharma has been for years making good money, and they see no reasons to stop now.

For certain people of power in pharma, others have price. Name it, and when they need to proceed, they pay, and the outcome is what is seen today.

Should we be surprised?


To make matter worse, I might have played a part in the big picture but not in hiding the data in particular.

What can I say?

I've been promoting pharma products for more than a decade now.

To be fair, I've seen peoples' life saved by many right medicines produced by pharma companies which I've served - from antibiotics to fighting drug dependence - these medicines did benefits many patients. Some of them are my loved ones.

Like I said earlier, if things turned out to be perfect, it's all good, but if it turned out otherwise, then somebody got to stand up and shout it out to those greedy bastards! It's not an easy task, but someone had to do it.

Why not all of us do it then, right?

No Need To Be Big To Be Bad Pharma

Not so long ago, big pharma companies are despised for being wrong:

They are bad for "selling disease."
They are bad for a hostile take over the small emerging company
They are bad for influencing business at the highest possible level
Some are well known for concealing clinical data that show the detrimental effect on human health.

Billions of lawsuits follow ...

... Exposure after exposure and the momentum are far from halting.

The public is looking at pharma from a different perspective ever since.

I live on the far side of the continent where pharma companies effect is not as mammoth as the other continent, but the "bad" part is no different.

I used to only read about bad pharma practice elsewhere, and I had never imagined I'd see it right in front of my eyes.

Well, let us just say I'm about to see it happen.

A particular company who hold total control over a specific brand of the drug is about to engage in what I would like to call "twisting arm" selling tactic. It's a part of the OLDSELL concept which I am working hard to steer away from.

I know I am not going to like what I'll see, and I have a choice here but not to the extent of influencing the whole scenario.

But change can start at my level.

Change can start when someone, no matter how insignificant he or she is, decides to walk a different path, take a separate action, treat people differently, and think differently ...

... It starts at that minute level almost subconsciously.

There are consequences too.

But the point I'm making throughout this post is simply this:

A pharma company doesn't have to be big to be wrong.

It can start on a small scale.

Perhaps, in this scenario, the small company "bad" attribute causes the more important adverse event to customers and consumers compared to big lousy pharma.

And that, indeed, something very pathetic to just watch.


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