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Your Pharmaceutical Sales Interview – How to Get Connected, Get Organized and Get That Interview!

As a former pharmaceutical sales recruiter, my coaching clients find it odd when I state that networking with pharmaceutical reps is the key to landing their first pharmaceutical sales interview, rather than simply calling a recruiter. But let’s face it, if a manager can hire a sales pro recommended by his/her rep at a much cheaper fee than through a recruiter, then which do you think the manager will choose?

And, although networking seems to be feared by many first time pharma sales candidates, it has become increasingly easier to do over the last few years.

Why?

Sheer numbers, my friend! With over 100,000 pharmaceutical reps in the United States alone, chances are high that someone in your network of friends or acquaintances is a pharmaceutical rep, or at least knows one.

In my pharmaceutical sales interview coaching business, I’ve found that only the strong survive a career search in pharmaceutical sales. To put it bluntly, gaining your 1st job in pharmaceutical sales is not for the faint of heart. You must be willing to “put yourself out there” and not be timid about utilizing your network of friends/family or approaching pharmaceutical reps that you do not know.

Here’s How to Kick-Start Your Networking Activities and Land That Pharmaceutical Sales Interview:

  • First Step: Send out networking letters to everyone in your circle of family and friends. Inform them of your fervent desire to win a job in pharmaceutical sales, and ask for further networking contacts.
  • Second Step: Develop a tracking system of your network – who you’ve spoken with, the results of the conversation and if/when follow up is required. This is important to begin right away, as you will soon have so many contacts it will be difficult to keep track of your next step.
  • Third Step: Make a list of your physician/physician assistant contacts. Your children’s pediatrician, your personal doctor, a family friend who is also a physician – all of these are perfect networking connections. Contact these individuals via phone, or write an informal note and leave it for them at their place of business.
  • Fourth Step: Utilize your current relationships with office personnel in local medical clinics to provide networking contacts. Ask for a copy of the local pharm rep association list, or at the very least for the names of 3-4 reps that the office personnel really like and trust.
  • Fifth Step: Visit your local pharmacy and ask the pharmacist for the business cards of reps that frequent the pharmacy.
  • Sixth Step: What about camping out in a busy medical clinic all day, dressed in your finest? Don’t be shy about approaching pharmaceutical reps as they make their way out of the clinic. Only take one minute of their time, and provide a 45 second “infomercial” of your education and career history that qualifies you for a pharmaceutical sales career. Finally, ask if you may contact them at a future time that is convenient for them.
  • Seventh Step: Show up at a local Pharm Rep Association meeting and ask to be introduced at the beginning of the meeting. Rattle off your “infomercial” and ask for business cards, so that you may follow-up with reps at a later time. Chat with the reps afterward to determine immediate openings and make dates for later conversations.

What Are the Keys to This Networking System?

  • Consistent Follow-Up: Follow-up through phone and email with your contacts on a monthly basis to discover new openings and to keep the relationship “warm”.
  • Organized System for Tracking Activities and Next Steps: Track your progress every step of the way; utilize spreadsheets and update accordingly.
  • Build Relationships: Develop a personal relationship with each of your contacts. Remember and track the “little things”, (as in your contacts’ likes/dislikes, birthdays, names of family members, etc.) and utilize that knowledge to build a positive bond with your networking contacts.

The above 3 tips can literally make or break your career search progress. Consider it practice for the pharmaceutical sales job you’ll soon have – organizational skills, follow-up, and repoire-building skills are a huge component of pharma sales career success.

But What if You’re Still Not Landing a Pharmaceutical Sales Interview?

It’s time to reflect…step back and take a look at the big picture. If you have a large network of pharma rep contacts (30-40 is good), you’ve passed your resume along through your contacts, and yet you’re still not gaining interviews…your resume may be the cause. Your resume must be a powerful marketing piece that showcases your skills/abilities/experience in a way that FORCES hiring managers to interview you! Consider a pharmaceutical sales resume writer to jump-start your interviews. Make sure to choose a resume writer with pharmaceutical sales industry experience, as this will ensure effective use of industry buzzwords and keywords…essential to gaining interviews!

And finally, don’t give up! Remember…pharmaceutical sales is not an easy career; in fact it is extremely challenging, as reflected in the high turnover rate. Today’s challenge of networking your way into a pharma sales interview will seem petty, once you obtain a pharmaceutical sales job. Keep this challenge in perspective, and refuse to give up. I’ve had clients waiting in medical clinic parking lots, ready to approach pharmaceutical reps as they get into their cars! Are you willing to be that determined and tenacious? Chances are…your competition will be!

All About RFIDSystems For Pharmaceutical Distributors And The FDA Regulations

The US FDA has decided to implement the “Pedigree provisions” of the Prescription Drugs Marketing Act after December 2006, when the current stay on it expires. There is a lot of concern that many pharmaceutical supply chain participants, may not be able to meet this deadline and hence risk non compliance with the provisions of the act. This pharmaceutical article is excerpts from the RFID technology white papers written by Sangeeta of Abhisam Software. The RFID technology white papers attempts to present an RFID Systems solution to ensure timely compliance and get added side benefits in the process.

Problems with the present pharmaceutical supply chain: There are two major problems with the present pharmaceutical supply chain model of the pharma industry, as it exists today. The first one is not of counterfeiting, but of diversion. More details will be explained in in the background information below and in Sangeeta’s RFID technology white papers, but some highlights are below.

Drug diversions can be of two types. Drugs meant for Medicare or Medicaid programs, public hospitals or charitable institutions, are diverted to the open market. Unscrupulous persons sell prescription drugs or “controlled” substances to consumers, without proper prescriptions. Counterfeiting (by FDA definition) Dummies/ Placebos, which means that there is no active ingredient at all Products with a lesser quantity of active ingredient than stated Products with the wrong active ingredient Products with a packaging that wrongly suggests that it was made by an FDA approved manufacturer To give you an idea of the scale of the counterfeiting just one of these cases involves $42 million of counterfeit Lipitor. Other high value cases include a case involving a $200 million nationwide drug diversion conspiracy and a $45 million Medicaid fraud involving diversion of blood products.

The FDA’s solution to the problem: The FDA’s vision of a safe and secure pharmaceutical supply chain is based on transparency and accountability by all participants in the (prescription drugs) pharmaceutical supply chain. The FDA had nominated a task force to study whether this system could be implemented with the currently available state of the technology.

They came to this conclusion after studying the various technologies currently commercially available, which could meet the pedigree requirements, including RFID or Radio Frequency Identification technology. Amongst all technologies studied including bar coding, RFID seemed to be the most promising and the committee felt that the pedigree requirement could be met by easily leveraging something that is readily available. (More details in the complete RFID technology white paper “RFID-FDA-Regulations.pdf” referenced below)

How the pharma companies can approach this issue: The million dollar question is “Who can ensure an ROI on this RFID technology, especially after millions have already been spent?” Even if a full scale RFID implementation were done now, how can it be done fast, before the December 2006 deadline?

Rather than resist implementation of a pedigree system built on RFID systems , pharmaceutical supply chain participants must realistically estimate the costs of investment in the technology, the real cost of counterfeits and the returns on a foolproof RFID based “track and trace” system. The RFID systems will virtually eliminate the counterfeit pharmaceutical market at one go. Secondly, it can ensure that drug recalls can be done swiftly without any ambiguity. This has been demonstrated many a times. Thirdly, the RFID systems need not cost too much.

How wholesalers and traders can implement track and trace: Ditto for other pharmaceutical supply chain intermediaries. They can simply join the same global system outlined in the RFID technology white paper that is currently in place and implement the electronic pedigree system easily. The only investment would be in the RFID readers and middleware. Even these can be bought in bulk by their associations at negotiated prices and implemented. This solves the issue of RFID standards too, since all participants would be using similar kinds of RFID readers and RFID software.

Beneficial Side effects of the implementation: In addition to combating pharmaceutical counterfeiting and diversion, pharmaceutical wholesalers, traders and retailers, get the added benefit of looking into their businesses and track the movement of prescription drugs with full transparency. This will no doubt yield added benefits of inventory optimization, demand forecasting and increasing their knowledge of what is selling and how fast.

RFID Implementation issues:

To implement this system fast, before the deadline of December approaches, it is essential to train all stakeholders (pharmaceutical company personnel, wholesalers, traders, retailers and others) fast but, at a competitive cost. However, the present cost of classroom based training is expensive, besides having other related costs like travel and hotel stay. A better system would be to go for a vendor-neutral e-learning program, which can be deployed immediately and across several locations simultaneously.

This has the effect of bringing up all staff, to a level necessary for them to implement an RFID based pedigree system. The e-learning program should cover all aspects of the RFID technology including the history, advantages over traditional automatic identification like bar codes, practical RFID systems, RFID standards and middleware as well as other issues like RFID privacy and RFID security. It should ideally also offer a self assessment and a glossary. We believe, that deploying such a program, across many companies is the only option to effectively train hundreds of people, in a cost-effective manner, so that the actual implementation of the system can be done smoothly. It is essential to bring all people on board, make them understand this RFID technology better and only then talk of implementing it.

Conclusion:

RFID track and trace is a technology whose time has come. It not only will meet the FDA requirements for compliance but also prevent pharmaceutical counterfeiting (lost opportunity sales of genuine drugs), prevent diversion, optimize pharmaceutical supply chains as well as fulfill social responsibilities of the pharmaceutical industry fraternity.

Training large numbers of people in a short time, is not a problem at all since a vendor-neutral, technology and implementation focused e-learning program is now easily available.

By Sangeeta Phadke

Some Additional Background Information …

Pharmaceutical distributors Background : The Prescription Drug Marketing Act (PDMA) was signed as a law, as far back as 1998 but a number of amendments introduced later, finalized the pedigree requirements only in 1999.

The pharmaceutical industry, essentially requesting them to the act “put on hold” , citing several reasons for this, one of them being “the technology required for this system is unproven and not in place.” The FDA patience finally wore thin. Therefore it was decided that they will allow the current stay on this act, to expire in December 2006.

This may not be a big problem for the pharmaceutical manufacturers, but it could be a really big problem for supply chain intermediaries like distributors, pharmaceutical wholesale suppliers and traders, who may not know much about “electronic track and trace” technology, which is necessary for the compliance. Sangeeta’s RFID technology white paper attempts to explain how this RFID track and trace system can be implemented and how it will be beneficial in the long run to all sections of society- pharmaceutical companies as well as intermediaries and ultimately the end users.

Understanding the pharmaceutical supply chain: The lay reader may assume that it is like any other supply chain, which brings goods from the manufacturers’ factories to the retail shelves, but it is not so. The pharmaceutical supply chain is inherently different in its organization. For the pharmaceutical business, the pricing for each end user is different. Therefore a typical hospital gets these drugs at lower rates than does a corner pharmacy. There are programs like Medicare and Medicaid where the procurement prices are different than for someone who buys the same drug at a corner pharmacy. The pharmaceutical distributors diagram to the right shows some of the various flows of prescription drugs through the pharmaceutical supply chain.

Pharmaceutical Machinery – Pharmaceutical Machines for Pesticide

Significance of Pharmaceutical Machinery

Pharmaceutical industries are growing at a large scale just because of the growing demand of pharmaceutical products nowadays. Have you ever noticed that how many pharmaceutical and cosmetic products do we use every day? If you think over this matter, then you will definitely understand the importance of pharmaceutical machinery. Without those machines, it is just impossible to pack and seal pharmaceutical machines. For example, a quality liquid filling machine is used to fill liquids, a capping machine is used to cap and seal the bottles. Moreover, there is also automatic sticker labelling machine, which pastes the stickers on the bottles and containers to make you aware about the product and its ingredients. All these jobs can be very much time consuming and tedious, if machines are not used. So, it becomes essential for pharmaceutical manufacturing units to use efficient pharmaceutical machinery in order to make the manufacturing process automatic and quick.

In this increasing competition, no pharmaceutical company can afford to own machines which are not automated and specialized. The pharmaceutical machines and equipments are supposed to be robust, durable, user friendly functionality so that the manufacturing process in pharmaceutical industries can be carried out smoothly without any wastage. If you own a pharmaceutical products manufacturing unit, and need to buy high quality pharmaceutical machines then you need to choose a pharmaceutical machinery manufacturer with a professional approach and having below mentioned qualities.

How to Choose a Pharmaceutical Machine Manufacturer?

  • The machinery manufacturer you are looking for should be highly professional and having ethical values. They should be supplying pharmaceutical machines of only international standards complying the local rules and regulations.
  • Make sure that they provide prompt after sales services so that whenever you are facing some problem with the machine, they can solve quickly and you can avoid waste of time and raw material both.
  • The manufacturer of pharmaceutical machinery should be providing wide range of machines with different versatile features, so that you can select as per your production unit requirement.
  • Above all, the most important factor is to select the manufacturer supplying pharmaceutical machines at competitive rates.
  • Last but not the least, take some reviews from the present customers of the pharmaceutical machinery manufacturer you have selected so that you feel confident about choosing just the right pharmaceutical machine manufacturer.

For more details on versatile pharmaceutical machines with great functionalities and features, visit http://www.brothers.co.in.