Dear Pharma Colleagues! I and my longtime friend Javed Akhtar have started writing a book about Pharmaceutical Sales Profession. It reads like a story and will take up all aspects of Pharma Sales. We both started as Medical Rep in 1975 and went through various stages. Javed left as Head of Training at GSK and is currently a well-known and well-respected coach and trainer. I reached the top in line management and am still there. It is the story of all of us; the Pharma Salespeople. Kindly read and give your reviews and comments here or at asrar@asrarqureshi.com 

Disclaimer. All characters and places are fictional. Any resemblance to anyone/anything real is unintentional and purely coincidental.

Jamil continued following his list. The next name was Dr. Atiya Kausar. Jamil got information from the nearby Pharmacy that Dr. Atiya saw around 100 patients in a day, only females. The doctor’s attendant, a middle-aged lady told Jamil he could not go inside the clinic due to privacy reasons. “How can I meet the doctor?” He was perplexed. “Doctor sahiba does not meet any male medical rep. If you want, you can drop your sample and cards. I shall give it to her.” The attendant said. Jamil looked at her, thinking about her suggestion. “Don’t worry. All medical reps do the same. I give everything to doctor sahiba, not keep anything. If I need anything, I shall ask you” the attendant helped him to make up his mind. Jamil decided to go along with the suggestion. He took out samples and promotional folders of two products and gave it to attendant, thanked her and went on. On a second thought, he returned to the pharmacy. “I went to Dr. Atiya Kausar but the attendant said she did not meet any male medical rep. She asked me to drop samples and cards. Is this really the system here?” Jamil asked. “Yes. Only female medical reps can go inside and meet the doctor” the pharmacy person confirmed. “Thank you, Sir” Jamil said and went away.

The next doctor on the list was Dr. Sohail Rashid. Jamil did not find any pharmacy close by and went directly to clinic. Dr. Sohail had around 10 patients sitting in his clinic. The doctor was sitting in the same room with all the patients. He was examining one patient, but occasionally talked to someone else also. He looked at Jamil and cheerfully acknowledged. “Sit down and relax. What would you like to take, tea or cold drink?” he asked. Jamil was not ready for such generous offer and he decided to pass. “Nothing Sir, thank you” Jamil murmured. “Thank you does not work in my clinic. You have to take something” He raised his voice and called someone to bring tea for Jamil. “Now sit patiently. Take your tea and then I shall talk to you.” Dr. Sohail commanded. Jamil sat quietly. Someone brought him a cup of tea. He sipped his tea and watched. Dr. Sohail had a very cheerful and social style. He seemed to know many things about his patients. He would ask about their family members and some family matters also. After about 20 minutes, Dr. Sohail addressed him. “You are certainly new. When did you join?” he asked. “Two days back, Sir”. Jamil replied. “Yes I can see that. Did they give you training?” he asked further. “Yes sir, I got some training”. “What is your education?” Dr. Sohail wanted to know. “Sir, I did B.Com. I thought I shall become accountant, but I became medical rep. But I like this” Jamil also got into talking. “Sir, Can I talk about my products?” Jamil asked. “Yes. Keep it short. I know everything about products already” Dr. Sohail remarked.

“Sir, first of all, I talk about Lefquin, our brand of Levofloxacin. It is used for respiratory infections” Jamil started. “I know everything about Levofloxacin. I was the first person to use the first brand in my patients. It was a wonderful drug. Of course, now there are too many brands.” Dr. Sohail liked to talk. “What else do you have?” he asked. Jamil told him the other products. Dr. Sohail made some remarks on every product. When Jamil requested him to prescribe the products, the doctor was non-committal. “Look, I am very busy all day. It is difficult for me to remember. You must come frequently and remind me if you want to get business.” “Yes Sir. I shall come regularly. Thank you Sir.” Jamil came out of the clinic. He was not sure what kind of doctor he was. Will the doctor give him a lot of business, as he says, or is it just talk? Something did not seem right. He decided to discuss with his manager, Nadeem.

Next doctor on the list was Dr. Arif Kareem. There were four pharmacies near his clinic and they all said the same thing to Jamil. “If you want good business, get hold of Dr, Arif. He has a lot of patients and he gives out a lot of prescriptions.” Jamil was excited.

Jamil entered the clinic which was filled with patients. But everything seemed to be organized. An attendant saw him and asked him which company he came from. Jamil introduced himself. “This must be your first visit” he asked. Jamil said yes. “Doctor sahib has fixed 1.00PM for medical reps. No one is allowed before that time. You will have to come back. Don’t come too late because doctor sahib will leave at 1.30PM” the attendant informed him.

To be continued……

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