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Continued from Previous……
The concept and importance of training of Medical Reps has been lost during the last 15-20 years, but it did not happen overnight. It has taken a long route.
Some Local Pharma, such as Getz, Highnoon, CCL, Martin Dow, Searle etc. still carry strong orientation and effort for MRs training. Sami has lately been investing much on training. In fact, it would be fair to say that following type of companies are more prone to investing in training.
- Those involved in selling more complex, high-end, high-tech products
- Those who are selling chronic care drugs like heart, blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease medications etc.
- Those whose business model is a hybrid of strong marketing, effective selling, and investment.
- Those who still believe in old-fashioned ways of building business over time
The other breed of companies who decided to grow big, rich, and famous quickly did not rely on training; they adopted other methods.
What is the road ahead for training?
I would tilt to the optimistic view. These are my reasons for holding the optimistic view.
- Every now and then, opportunists come in every trade, make quick buck through dubious means, and fade out. Pharmaceutical trade is no exception. The carpetbaggers will come and go, but the market shall sustain. The analogy between stock market and pharma market is not apt; these are inherently different types of businesses. Pharma market is Knowledge-based and Evidence-based; Stock market is Trend-based, and Speculation-based.
- Incidence of diseases is increasing due to multiple factors. It is lifestyle, it is environment, it is pollution, it is ever-increasing intake of toxic chemicals, it is food tainted with undesired drugs and hormones, and so on. The list is long. Medicine use is on the increase, and it is leading to fast increase in pharmaceutical market, particularly in the developing countries. Quarter 1 figures from IQVIA show 11.95% growth in pharma market value in Pakistan.
- Incidence of chronic diseases is also increasing. The average age has increased, more people are going into their 70s and 80s. Many of them have chronic diseases like heart problems, metabolic problems, neurological problems, psychiatric problems, muscular problems, and such things. They require lifelong medications and that means the share of chronic-care market is rising. One prescription from a cardiologist, endocrinologist, neurologist, psychiatrist, rheumatologist lasts for many years and therefore carries a high value.
- Doctors do not change the prescription of a stable patient, which further adds to longevity of prescription. The fight is, therefore, for getting bigger share of ‘new patients’, and it requires discussion along with other things. Knowledge becomes a very useful commodity in all such cases.
- More and more doctors are doing postgraduate studies from Pakistan and abroad. It changes their status to more prestigious ‘consultant’ level. It also broadens their knowledge base, understanding and skill set. Talking to this class of doctors would always require ‘sense’ which comes from knowledge.
- Pharmaceutical business is healthcare business. It is true that virtually all Big Pharma have tried to play with it wrongly at one or the other time, but the evidence and truth prevailed finally. Selling is the same. On a short-term basis, certain measures may appear to be succeeding, but in the long term, only seriousness shall prevail.
- From a financial standpoint, it is more viable to go for a hybrid model, effective selling, and strategic investment. It keeps the cost of selling at a reasonable level, which is necessary for long-term survival and growth.
Having said all this, there would still be companies who would not spend a penny on training and still be able to do business. This may be taken in good spirit, as the whole world can never be the same.
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