Indian drug companies eye fresh management grads as sales reps

About a dozen of India's drugmakers are changing the way they market their drugs by jettisoning their traditional medical sales representatives and hiring recent graduates with management degrees.

After a series of interviews, The Economic Times said that as companies focus more on highly complex drugs that they tend to sell directly to specialist physicians, they realize they need their own specialist to reach those doctors.

The head of the Federation of Medical and Sales Representatives Associations of India acknowledged the field was changing for its members. National Secretary T. Kameshwar Rao said drugmakers want medical representatives steeped in higher-margin niche products to communicate with a specialist physician tight for time.

An analyst unnamed by the newspaper said management graduates are paid big bucks to use their training to make a better presentation of a prescription drug's advantages.

The Times cited Lupin as one of the pioneers in hiring management graduates, but also listed Abbott Laboratories ($ABT), Cipla, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, Glenmark, Hetero Drugs, Ipca Laboratories, Mankind Pharma, Pfizer ($PFE), Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and Torrent Pharmaceuticals as companies making the switch.

- here's the story from The Economic Times