Gathering for a New Starting Point of Career Development for Medical Representatives


[Tuesday, January  26, 2016, Beijing] “China Symposium for Pharmaceutical Industry Self-regulation  and Career Management and Development of Medical Representatives” was held in  Beijing today. Delegates to the symposium unanimously agreed that medical  representatives play an important role in connecting medical personnel with  pharmaceutical companies, ensuring medical treatment  effect and benefiting patients. Hence, medical representatives should possess  professional knowledge background and meet strict ethical requirements, which  highlight the importance of creating a system of career management and development  based on high standards. The symposium was chaired by Wang Guihua, Secretary  General of China Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (CATCM) and was  attended by leaders from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security,  the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) and the National Health and  Family Planning Commission (NHFPC).


In the new edition  of the Chinese Occupation Encyclopedia released in 2015, “medical  representative” is included as an entry defined as “professionals engaged in  the transmission, communication and feedback of drug information on the half of  drug manufacturers.” This inclusion is the outcome of survey and application  made by the China Pharmaceutical Industry Association (CPIA), the R&D-based  Pharmaceutical Association Committee of the China Association of Enterprises  with Foreign Investment (RDPAC), the CATCM and the China Medicine Education  Association (CMEA) under the support and guidance of the CFDA and the NHFPC; in  addition, members of the China People’s Political Consultative Conference  (CPPCC) Professor Li Dakui and Madam Feng Danlong raised proposals for the  occupation of medical representatives through various channels. Executive  chairman of the CPIA Pan Guangcheng noted that the inclusion of medical  representative into the Chinese Occupation Encyclopedia marks an important  milestone in the professionalization of medical representatives in China and is  an outcome of the joint efforts by various stakeholders. For the development of  medical representatives in China, however, this only marks the first step and  it takes a long way for the management system of this occupation to be created  and for the development planning of medical alternatives in China to be  properly formulated.


According to Brendan Shaw, Assistant Director-General of the International  Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), the  environment for medical representatives improved over the past decade and  supervision on them also enhanced. In addition, the pharmaceutical industry  plays a dominant role in self-regulation. For instance, many drug manufacturers  have created in-house compliance positions, expanded the scope of compliance  and published internal standards and operation procedures as guidance for the  communication activities of the employees. These industry and corporate standards  are usually broader than requirements of laws and regulations. Meanwhile, the  role of medical representatives is also transforming. Medical representatives  are increasingly seen as an important source of suggestions and clinical  support and their professionalism and continuing education are taken more and  more seriously.


Internationally,  many countries have established their own systems for the career management and  training of medical representatives and some countries did so a long time ago  and created complete systems although under different names. They include the  United Kingdom, France, Germany, the United States, Japan, Australia, Singapore  and Canada. Among them, the UK, Canada and Australia initiated similar  activities as early as in the 1960s and France and Germany promulgated  dedicated legal requirements and clauses. In some other countries with  different national conditions, in most circumstances the industry organizations  are in charge of relevant standardization and management. In addition to the  basic requirements of code of conduct for medical representatives, various  states of the United States made requirements for the career management of  medical representatives according to their different laws. Japan’s practice is  the most sophisticated. In the late 1970s, the draft of revised Drug  Administration Law of Japan included relevant provisions on the qualification  system of medical representatives. The Pharmaceutical Education and Training  Outline of Japan enacted in 1979 already stipulated that the induction training  for medical representatives shall include basic training, product training and  on-site learning with a total of 840 hours plus the follow-up continuing education  of 100 hours/year. As remarked by Chikazawa Youhei, head of the MR Education  and Accreditation Centre (MREAC) of Japan, “the qualification of a medical  representative cannot be acquired only through education, training and learning  but is largely subject to the operational concept of the employer, operational  performance and the guiding attitude of the immediate supervisor of the medical  representative. Thus, it is extremely important for various companies to  further improve the environment of education, training and learning, strive to  enhance the qualification of medical representatives through education and  training, and ensure the trustworthiness among medical professionals and even  the whole society at large.”


“No matter how useful a drug product is, if it cannot be properly  communicated to medical stakeholders based on correct information activities,  it cannot be called “useful drug product” in the real sense. In this sense, the  work of medical representatives in compliance with laws, regulations and rules  is one of the most important concerns for pharmaceutical companies. They must  always remember the principle of “Everything for the patients” and follow the  objective to carry out their work with a strong sense of ethics and in a highly  transparent way.” As remarked by Tanaka Tokuo from Japan Pharmaceutical  Manufacturers Association (JPMA), “after years of efforts in the industry, the  percentage of people in Japan who believe that pharmaceutical industry is  trustworthy has increased from 66% in 1999 to 80.9% in 2014.


RDPAC Managing  Director Joseph Cho noted that as an industry organization of global drug  R&D companies, it is an important responsibility of the RDPAC to ensure  that its member companies can accurately communicated the academic information  of relevant drug products to physicians and timely collect and report the  problems and adverse reactions in the use of drug products. Therefore, the  RDPAC has been promoting the “code of conduct for medical representatives”  among its member companies over the years with reference to international  practice and carried out internal medical representative course (MRC) project  to promote self-discipline and ensure that the medical representatives of its  member companies have the basic pharmaceutical professional knowledge and work  ethics. This year, the “code of conduct for medical representatives” as an  internal mandatory mechanism for the RDPAC has been created to provide further  assurance for its member companies and medical representatives to conduct  themselves in accordance with the code of conduct.


Major progress has  also been made in the self-regulation of pharmaceutical industry under the  joint efforts of relevant chambers of commerce, associations and societies.  Currently, a total of 17 industry chambers of commerce, associations and  societies have signed the Proposal for the Implementation of Code of Ethics for  Pharmaceutical Companies in China. In the future, the healthy development of  the occupation of “medical representatives” will be an important component in  the self-regulation of pharmaceutical companies and an important driver for the  assurance of compliance.


This symposium is  jointly organized by the CPIA, the RDPAC and the CATCM and attended by over 100  representatives from the government, associations industry and the media.



Occupational definition and job description of medical  representatives

“Medical  representative” has been listed into the Chinese Occupation Encyclopedia , 2015  Edition, thus finally acquiring an officially recognized identity, definition  and job description and restoring the value and roles of “medical representatives.”

The included entry  is as follows:

Occupation code: 2-06-07-07

Name of occupation:  medical representative

Definition of  occupation: professionals engaged in the transmission, communication and  feedback of drug information on behalf of drug manufacturers.

Main job  description:

1. Formulate  pharmaceutical product promotion plan and method;

2. Communicate  relevant information of pharmaceutical products to medical personnel;

3. Assist medical  personnel in making proper use of the medicinal product of the company;

4. Collect and  report the clinical use of the drug product and hospital demand information.

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