The pay’s good, and, because you’re often working at home or out on the road, you benefit from a company car and laptop computer.
Although having a degree isn’t absolutely essential, companies prefer to take on graduates as trainees, or people with nursing, marketing or ethical sales experience. This doesn’t mean you need a science degree - far from it – as long as your academic background can demonstrate your ability to assimilate information at a suitable academic level. About 55% of medical representatives in the UK have a science degree, the other 45% come from a variety of backgrounds including non-science degrees and nursing.
A common first role in medical sales is that of medical representative, which mostly involves promoting prescription products to GPs and hospital doctors, pharmacists and nurses. You can expect to undergo an initial training course, which will teach you all about the products, therapy area, and how to promote them in a very competitive environment.
The ABPI Code of Practice requires medical representatives to take and pass an examination covering their knowledge of the human body, pathology and pharmacology, body systems and three specialist topics selected from a list of 12. These include disease areas, immunology and pharmacology. As well as having a thorough understanding of the ABPI Code of Practice, representatives must also understand the structure and function of the NHS.
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If you excel in your job, have a clear focus and drive and own your development plan, then the pharmaceutical world is your oyster.