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PHARMA INDUSTRY – Putting it in Perspective

Continued from previous……

  • Information Aspect – Pharma Industry is a valuable source of providing information about new medical research and drug developments in the following ways.
    1. Awareness Campaigns – Pharma industry runs regular campaigns on topics of public interest. These are run through Posters displayed in the doctors’ clinics and hospitals; Flexes displayed in public places, Billboards and Hoardings, print media, and infrequently through electronic media. Cholesterol, Diabetes, Heart attack, Osteoporosis, Calcium, Zinc, Mother and Child Health, are some examples of public awareness campaigns.
    2. Screening Camps – Diabetes, cholesterol and BMD (Bone Mass Density) screening camps are a fairly common sight. These are arranged by Pharma Industry. Screening is done free of cost at a doctor’s clinic. Persons having abnormal readings are referred to the doctor for consultation, advice and if needed, a prescription. Screening camps were introduced over twenty years ago for diabetes. It was made possible by the availability of glucometers which were handy to use and gave immediate result. Hundreds of thousands of people have been screened by several companies. A fair percentage was actually diagnosed in such screening camps. It is a practical and highly beneficial service sponsored by Pharma Industry.
    3. Continuing Medical Education – or CME is another area where Pharma has rendered valuable service. Foreign consultants have been invited from abroad to deliver lectures on current topics; Videoconferences have been arranged; Local consultants have been developed and sponsored for speaking to groups of doctors. The events are organized by the Pharma companies through their sales teams at their own cost.
    4. Support to Medical Community – Pharma industry has always supported the medical community in several ways.
      1. Providing comprehensive and latest information about drugs
      2. Providing research articles for reference in writing dissertations
  • Subscription of reputed medical journals
  1. Sponsorship for organizing medical conferences in Pakistan
  2. Sponsorship for participation in medical conferences in Pakistan and abroad
  3. Sponsorship for upgrading of health facilities in government and private hospitals
  • Working alongside the doctors at the time of natural or accidental disasters

There may be more, less frequent, less common, and isolated ways of support.


  • Social Aspect – Pharma Industry has consistently provided decent, socially well-placed jobs. For fresh graduates, looking for a well-paying job, a Pharma sales job can be a great option for these reasons.
    1. The job will be obtained on merit, without need for ‘sifarish’. Working with good focus and effort will bring results and give initial success.
    2. Keeping on will make him get noticed and picked up for further development. (In Pakistan, Pharma sales is almost entirely held by males; females are very few and do not go up the promotion ladder. It is not that they cannot do the job; they do it very well, but there are logistics and other social issues. Relatively more women may be seen in Pharma Marketing, though the number is still tiny).
    3. Unlike many other jobs, Pharma spends a lot of resources (time, money, effort, coaching) to develop their own people for higher positions. Promotions are early and plenty and for any young person aspiring to rise, the opportunity is huge.
    4. Promotion into management cadre brings many life-changing benefits. A company car, decent amount of allowances, medical facility, health insurance for self and family, life insurance and so on. Such benefits are not seen in majority of other jobs, be it in government or private sector.
    5. Pharma Marketing and Sales people also get the opportunity to travel within and outside Pakistan. Traveling teaches the most and such exposure changes the lives of people.
    6. Senior managers have truly enviable perks, benefits, compensation and so on. True that others like FMCG, Retailers, Consumer Textiles, Electronics, Telecom have similar benefits, but the ease of entering is not the same and the time to grow is longer. It is very heartening that Pharma is among the leading professions to upgrade itself. There are differences between companies. The bottom line is that the Pharma companies interested in growth, grow their people also; those interested in bare survival will make their staff struggling for living. It is up to the staff to decide where they want to spend their life.
    7. The summary is that the staff associated with growth-oriented companies have the chance to change their social standing for themselves and their families.

I understand there are many objections to the way the business is done and the way the staff is treated. There are specifics and there are generalities. No profession is entirely gold, and none is entirely dust. For those who succeed, it is real gold; for those who cannot make it, it may not be so pleasant. This is true for all jobs and even enterprises. In our own observation, we see people rising to stars, burn out like meteors after shining briefly, and never taking off in a life time. Three points are for consideration. One, the inferences should be based upon generally prevalent factors, not isolated ones. Two, the hard, sincere effort rarely goes waste. Three, as a believer, we do understand that Allah has the Final Word.


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