It is my pleasure to publish the first ‘Guest Blog’ Post. This post has been contributed by Mr. Hasan Jamal, a longtime veteran of Pharma Industry. The Guest Blog Posts are also published on http://pharmaveterans.com . You are welcome to contribute. You may write your own story or about some memorable events of your career or about Pharma Industry. Please send your posts to firstname.lastname@example.org .
I took up the admission at F. C. College, Lahore in first year in
1968 and passed out with Master’s Degree in Political Science in 1973. After few months I started my first job with a Karachi-based company dealing in Enamel Paint, Distemper and Undercoat. This company also had sole distributorship of a British company “Stahl Chemicals” dealing in a range of Leather Chemicals and Tanning Agents. I was responsible for both product lines and would travel from Sahiwal to Peshawar, visiting markets for paints and tanneries for the other range. I was drawing salary of Rs. 600/ which was raised to Rs. 650/; traveling expenses besides. I left the company at the end of 1977.
Around that time, I happened to see an advertisement in a newspaper from Hoechst for Medical Representative; Medical Sales Officer was the title of job announced. I applied for the position and roughly after a fortnight received a telegram for the interview at Thornton road office. I went around in that area a day earlier to find the location of the office. On the D-day, I reached there 15 minutes earlier. I was interviewed by Mr. C. J. Paul, the Field Officer at that time. Discussion lasted for about 15 – 20 minutes. I came out fifty-fifty because of mainly my educational background. I had always been an Arts or Humanities student. During the interview Mr. Paul showed his apprehension and concern about my Arts background. To me, this could be ‘the stumbling block’. While leaving Hoechst office, I kept thinking about how an Arts student could handle medical science. By the time I reached home, I had lost hope completely.
After about 10 days, to my great surprise, I received another telegram for the second interview at Intercontinental Hotel Lahore. On the specified date I was there at the front office, wearing white shirt, tie and black trousers. A person there directed me to a room on the second floor. It was my first experience of entering a five star hotel. Struggling to collect all my energies and trying to regain confidence I entered the room. Mr S.K. Manzar was sitting on the front chair, flanked by Mr. Paul andMr. Ashraf Butt. The hot seat was placed right in front of Mr. Manzar. By that time, I had recollected myself and regained composure largely and was ready to take on. There you go, and Mr. Manzar started to through volley of questions at me, but I knew I was handling the situation well. After about half an hour of discussion, the close of the interview came with the much-anticipated question of Arts background. I had already picked up the idea from the first encounter and was amply prepared to confront it.
I was right away offered the job and asked to join in and report to Mr. Paul in a week time. On the first day, I found Zafar Hayat, an acquaintance from my earlier profession in Paint Company. Zafar was running a small paint shop on Temple road. Zafar and I were introduced to Mr. Khalid Rasheed, the Regional Officer, Mr. Khalifa Imaduddin, the Institutional Officer, Basharat Malik and Abdul Waheed Butt (now late – May his soul rest in eternal peace), as well as colleagues on the distribution side. We soon became a well knitted and integrated team and reached the level of close friendship, which extended to our families. We still maintain the relations.
This was the time of the hustle bustle of the launch of Frisium (Clobazam). We were put on training immediately at Hotel Faletti’s. Company gave us a real tough time. We all took up the challenge and did everything humanly possible to make it a success. Frisium was the first sedation free anxiolytic and the ambulant patient was our target. After a couple of months,we were sent to Karachi for a brief general training which coincided with the Frisium follow up meeting. There I had the chance to meet Mr. Woerpel, the German Pharma Manager; what a lively and jovial person he was.
We spent wonderful time at Karachi. I worked real hard at the training by habit, with passion and also to atone for my Arts background, and at the end emerged as one of the top performers along with Zafar and few more. It was a group of some 25 odd trainees; many of whom got screened out as the training progressed. We the toppers were appreciated by everyone in the management including Mr. Talha Siddiqui Mr. Mehmood Mapara and others besides Mr. Manzar. I overheard Mr. Manzar taking pride with the Pharma Manager for his vision of the right selection of boys specially the top performers. In fact, the performance at the training and the results of success with Frisium had started crystallizing by that time. The two factors helped us to come to lime light much earlier than what it might take otherwise. The Lahore team, with Mr. Paul at the helm of affairs, performed very well for Frisium.
This is how I began with Hoechst. My love affair with pharmaceuticals blossomed right at the start of the career, which is something that I treasure and will cherish for the whole of my life.
To be continued……