Medical representative: job description
Approximately £7 billion of medicines are sold to the NHS each year, although this only accounts for about 13% of total NHS costs.
Key responsibilities include:
- organising appointments and meetings with community and hospital-based healthcare staff
- identifying and establishing new business
- negotiating contracts
- demonstrating/presenting products to healthcare staff including doctors, nurses and pharmacists
- undertaking relevant research
- maintaining detailed records
- making presentations
- attending/organising trade exhibitions, conferences and meetings
- managing budgets
- reviewing sales performance
- writing reports and other literature.
Promotional prospects are excellent - progression can be into senior sales/managerial roles or into related employment areas such as marketing or purchasing.
Healthcare and pharmaceutical companies employ medical representatives. Jobs are advertised online, by careers services and in newspapers, trade magazines and publications such as New Scientist, Drug Tariff, Pharmafile, and Journal of Woundcare.
There are several specialist recruitment agencies and consultants including Oxford Pharmaceutical Sciences Limited and Scientific Staff Consultants that also regularly advertise vacancies. Job shadowing, creative job seeking/networking and speculative applications are advisable. Pre-entry sales or hospital/medical work experience is advantageous.
Employers normally prefer graduates with relevant qualifications in life sciences, pharmacy, medicine, nursing or dentistry. New recruits normally receive an initial period (up to six months) of intense training, following which they may shadow experienced sales staff before commencing work on their own.
Many new sales executives also take the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) examinations within the first few years of work. A full driving licence is also a common requirement.
- commercial awareness
- strong interpersonal skills
- communication skills
- organisational skills
- sales skills are essential.