pharma industry training

Given the long, complicated process of bringing new drugs to market and ensuring compliance with all essential safety regulations, a pharmaceutical company probably does more training than any other company. But the volume of pharma industry training that needs to be provided, often across many different lines of business and geographies, makes it challenging to give the right training to the right people at the right time. Pharmaceutical companies are, therefore, ahead of those in many other industries in using artificial intelligence systems to deliver training administration services remotely.

The functions of a medical representative:

The role of a Medical Representative is challenging. They represent the entire company in a given territory.

  • A medical representative’s job is to promote and sell their company’s products, whether that’s pharmaceutical drugs or medical equipment.
  • To call doctors for detailing, follow up for prescriptions, and keep them posted on the latest drugs and supply of necessary information. 
  • Increasing product awareness, answering queries, providing advice, and introducing new products.
  • Negotiating contracts
  • Identifying and establishing new business
  • Appointment of wholesalers to ensure that sufficient stock is kept for distribution to retail chemists.
  • To achieve assigned targets for every brand of the company.
  • To achieve the target by generating prescriptions.
  • Managing budgets.
  • Maintaining contacts with retailers and impressing upon them on the need to stock his company’s products.
  • Report to the company regarding his daily visits to doctors, wholesalers, and retailers.
  • Keep the company posted on all the new and important developments in its area of operation.
  • Help their company formulate marketing strategies taking into consideration the strategic move of the competitors.
  • To be up to date with the latest developments by attending seminars, training courses, lectures by experts, etc., which will facilitate them in their job enrichment and enable them to discuss with doctors at a higher intellectual plane. Thus, they will have better and easier access to doctors, and their detailing will carry more credibility.
  • Coordinate the activities of wholesalers and retailers and ensure that their problems, like replacements and credit notes, are sorted out amicably.

From the above functions, we see that the role of a medical representative is significant for the success of a pharmaceutical company. Hence, all the problems of medical representatives have to be attended to and sorted out without procrastination.

Learning and training challenges faced by Medical representatives (MRs): 

Nischel, who works in a Bangalore-based pharmaceutical company, says,” The main challenge of a medical representative is that he is not given proper training. Only the product is explained, and then they are expected to remember every detail that their managers throw at them. The struggle to get attention from doctors and to get those five minutes from them to explain the product is REAL. Sometimes it takes waiting for hours every day for a month or two, to meet the same doctor. Work pressure is high as at the end of the day they have to show the list of doctors they have met.”

Medical representatives need to be masters in product knowledge, selling skills, communication skills, problem-solving skills, and time management. They are expected to be endowed with excellent technical expertise and a pleasant personality. Besides, they must also be provided with physical and mental toughness. 

They form the only link between doctors, wholesalers, retailers, and manufacturers. Thus, they have a very vital role to play in representing their company and its products. Clearly, any problem faced or created by a medical representative can have adverse effects on sales. So, the senior officials of the company must heed the difficulties faced by medical representatives to find amicable solutions.

Against a changing infrastructure of pharmaceutical research, the development of new chemical entities by major companies accounts for a high proportion of R&D expenditure. In dealing with the shortfall, the challenge comes from balancing education in basic science with training in the areas of science and technology. There is a need for well-planned, structured training.

What exactly is structured training via an LMS for pharma? It means having a clearly defined training plan and time frame to ensure everyone improves their core industry and product knowledge and experience, as well as their soft communication and consultation skills.

Any structured training program should support new team members and those looking to progress their careers. However, despite the prominent business and personal value of structured learning, implementing a program remains a challenge for busy pharmaceutical companies.

Volatility is affecting training and development

The world is becoming increasingly unpredictable and volatile, which is affecting the training and development of MRs. But today’s volatility is not only disrupting business models. It is also challenging how companies train and develop their employees to achieve sustained success.

   Avinash Barde, in his article, says, “Medical representatives are a very important part of pharma sales promotion. From the air-conditioned training room to the marketplace is quite a change for them. Large investments are made to train them-up.”

pharma industry training

Best Pharma Industry Training Methods

Any training should begin with an intense focus on the learner. Providing training to your employees will build self-esteem and confidence in them. The more knowledge they have, the more confident they are. Here are some methods for training your employees:

pharma industry training

Distance learning: E-learning and online learning are forms of training in which the main elements include the physical separation of trainers and learners during instruction and the use of various technologies to facilitate trainer-learner and learner-trainer communication.

External training: One of the main benefits of external training is an outside perspective. Another key advantage is that the knowledge that can be gained by participating in external courses can set you apart from other companies.

In-house training with experienced staff and managers: An in-house training session enables a cost-efficient and time-flexible training framework. It can be customized to address specific organizational or capability needs. It is an interactive means of team bonding. It enables the ability to debrief as a team and directly applies to learning collectively.

Presentations by suppliers and e-learning tools: A presentation can be made fun and exciting. M-learning in the field of medical education has immense potential for its use even in the field of assessment, and it can document the current status as well as the progression of learners both in terms of knowledge and skills.

Use of technologies: Choosing technology for Training Pharma Employees. The pharmaceutical industry employs millions of people. Each employee is vital for the growth of drug manufacturing companies. They must be trained to deal with the dynamic nature of the business. However, keeping the large group of people they employ up to date has proven to be difficult.

Microlearning: After identifying learner roles, organizations can apply micro-learning techniques to develop hyper-focused content for their role-based training programs. Microlessons require only a few minutes to consume and focus on a concept. While microlearning is not ideal for complex topics that need to be covered in-depth, it can be an excellent option for delivering just-in-time learning, such as a job aid. For instance, a sales representative could review a fact card to brush up on important product information before calling on a customer.

Gamification: Game-based learning is an excellent way to have employees see the consequences of different types of decisions or actions in a safe environment. As adults, our motivation to learn is driven by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Game-based elements in training and learning can include points, progress bars, leaderboards, and badges. It provides tailored assistance that gives hints or clues exactly when the learner needs them.

PlayAblo’s Corporate Learning solution is robust yet very lightweight and fun to use ensuring a high degree of engagement and course completion. Find out more and request a custom demo!

How m-learning can be beneficial for training:

M-learning bytes, containing answers to frequently asked questions, are very useful while interacting with doctors. Doctors often ask these questions, and providing solutions to them ensures the reps are never caught off guard without an answer. Also, m-learning is very convenient in terms of location and timing. Hence, it is steadily becoming a favorite among companies. M-learning can easily circumvent the challenges faced by them.

It removes the shortage of trainers from the equation. One trainer can serve the training needs of hundreds of employees from across locations and time zones. Whether the sessions are live or pre-recorded, digital platforms allow a trainer to reach out to more employees than a traditional classroom would.

As new drugs get launched, m-learning allows employees to be updated quickly with the composition, treatment, and side effects, among other properties of these drugs. Organizations can update the data online, which is pushed across the globe to their employees’ mobile devices. A notification can be sent across to inform everyone of the update. Thus, the training material remains truly dynamic.

Similarly, m-learning can be leveraged to teach employees about the compliance guidelines of each new jurisdiction a drug is marketed in. Using interactive guidance, employees can absorb such complex information more easily. They can be provided with the knowledge and skills needed to perform effectively through a blend of learning methodologies.

Anywhere, anytime: In the ever-evolving Pharma trade, new drugs are launched every day. MRs need to have complete information about these drugs. There are chances that the MR might forget about the features, benefits, or usage of a product. By implementing m-learning, the salesperson can refer back to the learning content when required. This will not only increase the confidence of the MR but also help in better retention and recall of the learning topic.

To ensure new data can be rapidly updated and can reach their employees anytime and anywhere. Employees can be intimated anytime new content is updated.

Using Podcasts: Podcasts are very useful in training the traveling sales rep. They can listen to the training content in the form of a podcast very quickly and conveniently while traveling. These resources can be accessed very effectively through Smartphones and tablets.

Shorter Modules Retain Better Attention: By implementing m-learning, the organization can quickly develop m-learning modules and make the learning content available to the learners. The modules should be short and not more than a few minutes, which focus on different concepts to ensure that the trainee does not get distracted while a concept or a lesson is being covered. Splitting the content into points and highlighting the important keywords will make sure that the employees can, at a glance, cover all the necessary information in the shortest possible time.

On-the-job training: Workers can get what might be called ‘fast learning’, focusing on low-level training modules and product information. A characteristic of this approach is burying out the boundaries between acquiring information and learning. This encourages the view that employees will not even be able to differentiate between learning and other everyday job functions.

Exclusive Training Modules as per Job Roles: Although medical representatives need to have some amount of common knowledge, they do not need to know everything. Designing training modules that are specific to their job role allows the content to cover a broader spectrum of subjects. It saves the employee from having to go through unnecessary information.

However, a medical rep will need more information about the features that will help them market the drug to retailers and medical professionals. Highlighting the information that best suits their needs individually will present a far more effective result.

Measure the progress of the learners:

Assessments allow managers to understand how well their teams are faring. With a few simple clicks, the organization can receive detailed reports of the user’s progress. This is very beneficial for a pharmaceutical company when they have workers spread across the locations. An analytical tool helps a manager to realize how best to utilize their resources.

Keep It Interesting:

Making the course interactive will keep employees focused and engaged. Features like a bookmark, text highlight, sharing, etc., make for a more stimulating experience. A popular choice for training using m-learning is using short, animated video clips to present complex information. Information given via this medium is retained more effectively by the trainees. You can create compelling interactive training content by providing explainer videos and assigning fun quizzes.

Final Word: 

A medical representative should be updated with all the recent developments. A blend of instructor-led, e-learning, and m-learning methodologies can be used to train your medical reps and enable them to sell effectively. 

Online modules containing realistic scenarios can be used in sync with instructor-led sessions to help the salesperson interact effectively.

Finding the time and money to train medical reps and team members is not easy, but there are business advantages of having well-trained staff, including a more knowledgeable and productive workforce. Investing in training and development raises staff morale, boosts employee retention, and, subsequently increases profits. Employee training in the pharmaceutical industry has become one of the major pillars of its success.

pharma industry training


  • Kitaboo
  • Raytheon Industry Report
  • Sudhganga
  • Barde Avinash in his article “Distribution vital part of pharma training In “Express pharma pulse, 6th July, 1995


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