Pharmaceutical Sales Certification To Become A Requirement In Many States.

Lyle Bootman, the chairman of the commissioners and dean of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Arizona told The New York Times that the certification program has tremendous potential for changing the way reps interact with physicians.
By: NAPRx
 
 
Sept. 8, 2009 - PRLog -- Pharmaceutical sales representatives are essentially medical professionals. Any professional especially in the medical and health care industry is required to have a license or be certified in order to either practice or be considered qualified for the job.

First we want to make a comment about difference between license and certification: a license is a lawful grant to practice what one is certified for, and certification simply states one is qualified.  Hence Certification is more appropriate for Pharmaceutical Sales Professionals because it would be exactly what their customers require: “professionals more qualified”.   Would any one go to an uncertified doctor?  Why should a doctor who must be certified listen and discuss pharmaceutical product information with someone who is not certified?

Professional certification is a way to gauge competency, granting permission to some and restricting others.  It is a way to gain respect, value, and inform of being qualified and reliable in his/her functions, and ultimately it is a way to lead to a professional development.  Lisa Roner, Pharmaceutical Sales Training Manager says: “So I was quite interested in a quiet and perhaps a widely known movement by a recognized non-profit at setting a national standard in the US for certifying pharmaceutical sales reps.”

A list some of the advantages of being a Certified National Pharmaceutical Representative (CNPR) sales professional:

* Certification preparation is a way to improve the skill set
* It is a way to convince the board, coworkers, customers and society the professional knows what they are communicating
* It is a way to inform the standards and procedures have been followed
* It is a way to convey credibility, respect and value

There are very interesting statistics about the certification: “The National Association of Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives -NAPRx says in an online survey among 159 doctors, 72% said they would be more likely to see a sales rep that was certified or had another similar type of designation”.

As pharmaceutical sales professionals, they spend time with medical staff who deal with patients and lives.  Physicians are usually extremely busy and when they share their time with pharmaceutical sales reps they want to make sure about the information they are receiving. They manage their time wisely and they will listen to somebody who is qualified as much as they are, although performing different tasks, and will bring value.

According to several pharmaceutical sales industry sources  “the whole process of CNPR Certification is to make the market a healthy environment and education based. The benefits are rewarding in terms of value and career”. They NAPRx also has continuing education programs to renew their certification which requires 20 hours of study every 3 years.  The Pharmaceutical Sales professional is responsible for CNPR Certification maintenance, or for their education, but sometimes, if the professional is working for a pharmaceutical industry, the company reimburses or takes the responsibility.

Overall, the pharmaceutical industry and health care system is demanding changes and companies want to move forward and take the right steps to have a higher quality of sales force, but it seems that this process is still rooted in the old patterns which are based on old behaviors and thoughts  related to “old model” of sales reps.  The pharmaceutical industry is moving towards a New Era in the medical field at a global level, and every process requires time, analytical thoughts, reflection, and it is understandable that  transitions are not a smooth process. Changing behavior and mentality doesn’t happen overnight but it is important to be aware about this ongoing process, know where we stand, where we want to be and what requirements the pharmaceutical sales industry needs to meet in this New Era.

Some companies find the way to improve and differentiate their sales team from others is by joining forces with pharmaceutical trade associations and/or groups to provide classes to their sales employees. At the same time the process of recruiting the right candidate seems to be one of the reasons why pharmaceutical companies have a sales team below the average expected in terms of  physicians’ and other customer’s satisfaction. I imagine that it is not an easy task to select the right candidate especially in this recession time with so many candidates.

The National Association of Pharmaceutical Representatives® (NAPRx®) is the United States largest trade association for sales reps, sales managers and sales trainers who work in the pharmaceutical industry. NAPRx® represents sales representatives who work in the pharmaceutical industry and provides Continuing Medical Education to its members as well as candidates who look to enter a pharmaceutical sales career. The NAPRx® (National Association of Pharmaceutical Representatives®) is widely known for its CNPR® Training Program which provides vocational education for individuals looking to enter a pharmaceutical sales career. The CNPR® Training Program provides necessary product/industry knowledge; selling guidelines and regulations; medical terminology; pharmaceutical selling techniques; drug sampling; physician detailing; introduction to pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. The CNPR Program is available by correspondence directly through the NAPRx® or can also be taken at over 300 universities/colleges in the United States.

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The largest association in the United States representing over 48,000 pharmaceutical sales representatives.
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