Since the explosion of debate around the internet and e-commerce began questions have been asked about the future role of the pharmaceutical sales representatives. Here we take a broader look at the r
Last Updated: 27-Aug-2010
Whether you're an experienced rep or just thinking of what type of car you might get with the job, you can't have helped but notice that the language of those who work in healthcare, pharmaceuticals and medicine is one of war. Even where the action is not necessarily bloody disease is talked of as an enemy that must be identified, targeted and then destroyed. On the frontline between those who develop and those who deliver the arsenal of weapons in this war, are pharmaceutical reps.
If disease is our enemy, drugs are our weapons, what does that make the rep? Supplies officers, or like NATO officials, ferrying secrets between deeply suspicious allied partners: the pharmaceutical industry and the NHS. Whatever the case, it seems obvious that new technologies will not leave the rep untouched. The industry is changing fast and so is the way that healthcare is managed and delivered. The entire drug development and delivery value chain is being e-enabled and powerful new applications of internet technologies are transforming the way in which companies carry out research, sales and marketing. Canny companies are combining the rep in an (un) holy trinity of on and offline resources to support their business and build profitability in the emerging environment.
As a rep, you have maybe a laptop, and certainly a diary of some sort. You may have a detail aid, you probably have lots of map books and guides to local cafes lurking in the car. As awkward and time-consuming as the daily round of planning, reporting, visiting and updating is, somehow the low-tech personal approach to being a successful rep has always worked best. Strangely, on the brave new frontiers of the new high-tech world, it'll be the offline relationship that will remain the most important factor in being a great rep. Bringing the rep into support the e-strategies of pharmaceutical business will require advanced broadband wireless communications. It's not enough to give the rep a laptop and ask him or her to connect every night.
So there are a range of new 21st century armoury that the pharma-tech rep will be called on to use in the not too distant future. Certainly satellite navigation in the car will make your life easier, taking you directly to the trenches of allied forces. Handheld computers will replace the detail-aid, diary and mileage diary. Gifts to the doctors will become computer tools and gadgets, a little dosage calculator programme that you zap directly from your handheld to the doctors, perhaps an introduction to an online PCGE course that is provided via the extranet.
More and more reps will be called on to help doctors and other healthcare professionals find their way through the digital morass and choose your company's services. You see, the basic game hasn't changed at all.
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