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Is certification for pharmaceutical sales representatives necessary?

Fadi M. Alkhateeb (School of Pharmacy, University of Charleston, Charleston, West Virginia, USA)
Patricia Baidoo (School of Pharmacy, University of Charleston, Charleston, West Virginia, USA)
Marija Mikulskis Cavana (School of Pharmacy, University of Charleston, Charleston, West Virginia, USA)
Danielle Gill (School of Pharmacy, University of Charleston, Charleston, West Virginia, USA)
Amanda Howell (School of Pharmacy, University of Charleston, Charleston, West Virginia, USA)
Babak Mehraeen (School of Pharmacy, University of Charleston, Charleston, West Virginia, USA)
Carrie Weidner (School of Pharmacy, University of Charleston, Charleston, West Virginia, USA)

International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing

ISSN: 1750-6123

Article publication date: 6 September 2011

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Abstract

Purpose

Pharmaceutical sales representatives (PSRs) have been shown to influence the prescribing patterns of physicians. Some of the blame has been shifted from physicians to PSRs due to perceived inadequacies in PSRs' education and certification. The purpose of this paper is to review the literature regarding the current certification requirements for PSRs, motivation for nationally standardized certification and the controversy surrounding pharmaceutical detailing impact on physicians' prescribing behavior.

Design/methodology/approach

Articles related to certification for PSRs were identified via searches of PubMed and IPA from inception to March 2011. Search terms included PSRs, PSRs certification, PSRs registration, PSRs education, and PSRs requirements. Articles describing the roles and responsibilities of PSRs, physician and public perception of PSRs, certification processes, and the future of PSRs' roles were included. An internet search was also performed to identify articles in the lay press related to this topic.

Findings

This paper shows that the certification for PSRs may become necessary, or even required, to help ensure that the prescribing patterns of physicians are not negatively affected due to false information coming from the PSRs. Therefore, ensuring that PSRs are well certified can lead to better health outcomes for patients. Although pharmaceutical companies do not require certification to gain employment as a sales representative, the certification provides a good knowledge base and insight into the industry.

Originality/value

The paper shows that appropriate training and certification of PSRs may be on the rise for this career path.

Keywords

Citation

Alkhateeb, F.M., Baidoo, P., Mikulskis Cavana, M., Gill, D., Howell, A., Mehraeen, B. and Weidner, C. (2011), "Is certification for pharmaceutical sales representatives necessary?", International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, Vol. 5 No. 3, pp. 222-233. https://doi.org/10.1108/17506121111172220

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited