Pharmaceutical Sales?

  1. Have any of you fellow nurses had any experience with this? I was talking to a few people *non-nurses* who said that there is good money in this, etc. They said being a nurse would be an advantage. I am not saying I want to jump up and do this, but I'd like to know what you guys think.

    Jess
  2. Visit Jesskanurse profile page

    About Jesskanurse

    Joined: Jul '05; Posts: 75; Likes: 3
    ICU RN

    58 Comments

  3. by   socishan
    Yes, in my area Pharm Sales Reps are known to make good money. I have a friend that started doing this after she finished college up until just a few months ago when she had her first baby. I am not sure how helpful it would be to have a nursing background, but I would think it would be helpful. My friend had a general communications B.A. degree and no health care experience at all. She had sales experience, though, which helped land her the job. From my understanding, she had a hard time at first building client relationships and establishing customers to work with, but once things got rolling, she always had extra money to spend. A lot of the compensation comes in the form of bonuses and extra incentives on top of the base paycheck. She went on several vacations she'd won for high sales not too long before she quit. It is hard, I think, to build a good client base at first, though, because many doctors/hospitals/practitioners already have drug reps that they work with on a steady basis.

    Anyways, from what I've noticed in my area and from knowing my friend in that industry is that it helps to be attractive. Like I said, my friend had no health care experience at all, but she could be in the Sport Illustrated Swim Suit edition if you know what I mean. I'm not sure if this is some strange, freaky thing that happens around here but nowhere else, but a lot of the pharm sales reps are quite attractive... it was always weird going out to eat or for a night out with my friend when she'd bring her co-workers with that she'd become friends with. Like stepping into an edition of Cosmo for a night or something.... like I said, maybe this was particular to my friend and this area or something. It may not be like this elsewhere.
  4. by   BSNtobe2009
    The one thing that I know that Pharm Rep Companies are big on is a Bachelor's degree. Depending on their hiring needs, if you have a strong outside sales, business to business background, with a degree in Marketing, Biology, Chemistry, you will raise very quickly to the top of their list.

    But BSN's is what they look for, and they will take an inexperienced BSN over another guy with a solid career in sales any day of the week.

    They do look for very attractive women and men, but "polished" is the look they really go for because of the clientele you would be dealing with.

    I used to date someone that did orthopedic sales and made well over $200K a year.

    It's good money, but it's NOT what it used to be.
  5. by   Jesskanurse
    Sooo... I guess the big question is... would you recommend doing this? I'm 23 years old with a BSN but no sales experience.
  6. by   BSNtobe2009
    Yup, they actually PREFER brand, new, never worked before grads.

    Look into job fairs to visit these folks personally, because they get tons of resume's, it's almost impossible to get a job that way.

    Do you know of a doctor that you are great friends with? What about your regular doctor? Tell them your story, and they may put you in touch with one of their reps that you might be able to meet for lunch and possibly guide you into a job.
  7. by   Jesskanurse
    Thank you for your input. I just don't know what I want to do. I know I want to do something that is challenging, has a lot of variety, has a lot of people-people interaction *I hate working in front of a computer all day* and that will make me financially comfortable. I have gone between wanting to be an NP, PA, going to school for Psychology (counselor), or going into the business world- like sales. I just dont know enough about what is out there...that is why I need the input. So...thanks!
  8. by   lsyorke
    Quote from BSNtobe2009
    Yup, they actually PREFER brand, new, never worked before grads.
    Add young and cute to that list!!
  9. by   socishan
    Quote from Jesskanurse
    Sooo... I guess the big question is... would you recommend doing this? I'm 23 years old with a BSN but no sales experience.
    I guess that would be your decision to make. :wink2: I can't say if I'd recommend doing this or not since I've personally never worked in this field before. I know my friend enjoyed her job a lot, but she was VERY sales-minded, very outgoing, and very much into that lifestyle. I know this is something that I couldn't do since I'm no good at sales and had my stint in the business world and didn't love it too much. If you've got the personality for it (ie, outgoing, friendly, can "sell" things), then sure, why not?

    There are a LOT of hours involved, at least from what I've seen with my friend. Lots of driving, and lots of long days, starting early in the AM and going late into the evening, especially with business-related dinners and functions and all that. It would definitely be a hard job to have with children if you didn't have a good sort of day care situation worked out, which is why my friend and her husband decided that she would stay at home with their new baby for now.

    Oh, and this may sound silly, but there are a lot of additional "hours" involved when it comes to your personal appearance in this field and the look you project, at least from what I've seen. The clothes are NOT business casual, but are instead more business professional/corporate. Collared shirts, heels, suits, and all that. Too much ironing and dry cleaning for me, lol.

    And it's not a job you can really roll out of bed and go to work with your hair up in a quick ponytail, you know? The drug reps I've met are all very polished, with well-maintained hair styles and perfect make-up and all that. So you'd have to take that into account also--- shopping for the appropriate attire, getting up a bit early every morning to pull off that polished look... doing your hair and makeup, and that sort of stuff. Again, it may sound silly, but it's just what I've noticed. That sort of personal upkeep can take extra time out of your day.

    Just keep in mind that there are a lot of sales involved and that how much product you sell can sometimes affect your salary and your successfulness in that industry. But, if you're a people-person and are sales-minded and like moving around a lot (ie, driving to different offices, ect) it could be a good fit for you. Good luck!
  10. by   MS._Jen_RN
    Ok, I might get shot down for this one, but remember, it's an opinion.
    I believe that Pharm Reps, the "free" merchandise they pass out, the dinners they host, the lunchs they bring to offices, and the like, are part of the reason that RX drug cost are so high in the US. (And to the same end, health insurance) I wouldn't want to be part of (or benifit from) what I see as a huge problem.
    Respectfully,
    ~Jen
  11. by   BSNtobe2009
    Yup, I've even heard of luxury vacations being offered among other things, and all of this has to be added to the cost of the drugs, because someone has to pay for it.
  12. by   BSNtobe2009
    Quote from socishan
    I guess that would be your decision to make. :wink2: I can't say if I'd recommend doing this or not since I've personally never worked in this field before. I know my friend enjoyed her job a lot, but she was VERY sales-minded, very outgoing, and very much into that lifestyle. I know this is something that I couldn't do since I'm no good at sales and had my stint in the business world and didn't love it too much. If you've got the personality for it (ie, outgoing, friendly, can "sell" things), then sure, why not?

    There are a LOT of hours involved, at least from what I've seen with my friend. Lots of driving, and lots of long days, starting early in the AM and going late into the evening, especially with business-related dinners and functions and all that. It would definitely be a hard job to have with children if you didn't have a good sort of day care situation worked out, which is why my friend and her husband decided that she would stay at home with their new baby for now.

    Oh, and this may sound silly, but there are a lot of additional "hours" involved when it comes to your personal appearance in this field and the look you project, at least from what I've seen. The clothes are NOT business casual, but are instead more business professional/corporate. Collared shirts, heels, suits, and all that. Too much ironing and dry cleaning for me, lol.

    And it's not a job you can really roll out of bed and go to work with your hair up in a quick ponytail, you know? The drug reps I've met are all very polished, with well-maintained hair styles and perfect make-up and all that. So you'd have to take that into account also--- shopping for the appropriate attire, getting up a bit early every morning to pull off that polished look... doing your hair and makeup, and that sort of stuff. Again, it may sound silly, but it's just what I've noticed. That sort of personal upkeep can take extra time out of your day.

    Just keep in mind that there are a lot of sales involved and that how much product you sell can sometimes affect your salary and your successfulness in that industry. But, if you're a people-person and are sales-minded and like moving around a lot (ie, driving to different offices, ect) it could be a good fit for you. Good luck!
    Everything she stated in this post is very true. They have a hellacious training program, but that is why they like BSN's, b/c it's no big deal, but to someone with no medical training, it can be slow torture.

    It's not so much selling as servicing and supporting the product. You'll learn how to do presentations and the more frequent your visits, the more they will write scripts and the more money you will make. They put you through very intensive sales training, so trust me, you'll know what you are doing when you get out..they'll make sure of it.
  13. by   Multicollinearity
    I was in sales (health insurance broker) for too many years. You need to be a 'special' kind of person to go to the darkside and still enjoy being alive.

    What others have said about projecting an image is correct. I called it being 'anchor woman' as in looking and sounding like the female news anchors on cable news. All day. Every day. It's alot of pressure. I hate the BS that is thrown at those who have never been in sales. Truth is, it is very hard, and you are only worth your latest month in sales. In sales, your personal life and needs to not matter. You will work 60 hours or so a week and you had better look fresh doing it. It is a savage world of getting in front of prospects (MD's) and building value in your products - better than your competitors do. The game that is played is that the MD's want their samples and want you out. You need to get your presentation in to them before they get what they want (samples).

    Yes, you can make alot of money. It can get very heady if you are good at it. When I was good at it, I got addicted to the trips, stock options, and ego fluffing. You need to be an outgoing person who enjoys talking 12 hours per day. You need to be 99% money driven.

    For what it's worth - years in sales showed me one thing. The substance abuse rate is very very high. So many alcoholics and drug addicts. The pressure is hard to manage. Of course nobody will talk about this, or they'd deny it and say that this is sour grapes on my part. No, it's the truth.

    I guess I just think that those who are good at this type of sales are those who went to college for business degrees, and those who are MBA type driven business folks. In pharm sales roughly 1/10 newbies will still be in the business after two years. Most people just can't do the work.

    Think about the goal in sales. It is money. Period. Nothing else. Nothing more. The only thing that limits your efforts is barely following laws that reign you in. It's not about what's best for the patient. (Despite what you are told!). It's not about what is best for healthcare. All that matters is how much business you bring in for your company. In a nutshell, it's about making money and not breaking any laws. Or getting caught.
    Last edit by Multicollinearity on Oct 16, '06
  14. by   scribblerpnp
    I agree with everyone's comments. Drug reps often have that polished/cute/handsome look about them. And it IS hard to develop a relationship. I work as an NP in an office and some of the drug reps I like, some I don't. Some are WAY to smarmy for my taste with flattering me or pushing their drugs. I HATE that they bring in food, try to take me out to dinner. I went once on the promise of a drug rep that there would be a lecture, SOME type of education. Turned out to just be an excuse to "get to know me better" and for the doctors in the group to buy 200+ dollars/bottle of wine and have someone else pay for it. Last dinner I ever went too. Drug rep sat by me the entire night and kept trying to get me to go to another dinner the next week.

    Also, some drugs suck, and woe to the rep who has to push that drug. Bonuses and trips are not coming your way. I think success or not depends mainly on the product. And new reps often get stuck with crummy product. Some companies don't provide cars or gas money, so that can come out of your product. One of my favorite reps worked for a small company who didn't believe in freebies with the exception of samples . He used his own car, own gas money (which I think is extreme). No pens or post-it notes even. I used to supply him with pen and paper samples from other drugs for his own personal use! Mpst MD's wouldn't even look at him, becasue he didn't have anything to offer. Except he had an AWESOME and CHEAP product. I wrote so many scripts for that drug that it became out of stock in the area and gave him great sales data. He was so thankful, He bought me lunch out of his own pocket. A Little Caesar's 5.00 pepporoni pizza. It was great! It was nice to see the little man come out on top for once (and no, if the product hadn't have been so good, I wouldn't have written the scripts).

    Here is a BIG downside to repping:

    I've seen drug reps do ANYTHING for business. Actually know a local MD (unfortunately he was my boss at one time, but thankfully I got out FAST) who is so specialized and with such a big practice, he can ruin certain drug reps local sales. And he does. If the drug rep isn't quick with the free dinners, office supplies, meds, Dr. X brings them into the office and politely tells them to get ready for a transfer because the sales are going to start to go down. He also throws them out of his office and refuses to see them again. He truely prescribed drugs on how well he is treated by the reps. And he also threatened them with ruining their sales. Here is a list of what Dr. X has his drug reps do, and if they don't "No more scripts for you!"

    1. Rep took his 5 dogs to the groomers every 4 weeks.
    2. Washed his cars (?!)
    3. Dinner out once a week at very expensive restaurant.
    4. Expected more visits by the rep than what was required by drug company.
    5. Constant stock of samples, heaven forbid he ran out (but he did pass these on to pts who didn't have good med insurance, so that was nice)
    6. Supplied B/P cuffs, table paper, and any other equipment the drug rep had- even when he didn't have a need for that specific med.

    I know this isn't how it is for every rep and not every provider is this crazy, but for me it would only take one client like this to make me hate my job.

    I always felt so bad to the drug rep that wasn't his favorite, and would usually spend more time talking to them.

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