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.
International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 6, 2011
Keywords: United States of America; Pharmaceutical industry; Pharmaceutical sales representatives (PSRs); PSRs certification; PSRs training; PSRs education; Roles and responsibilities of PSRs; Physician perception of PSRs; Medical prescriptions