Pfizer looks for reps, partners in China

Yet another drugmaker is plotting a big sales push into China--and plans to staff up with hundreds of new reps to make that push happen. This time it's Pfizer, which wants to get 3,200 company reps in the Chinese market by the end of next year. That's 900 more than the 2,300 it's now fielding there, Dow Jones reports.

It's all part of a concerted assault on emerging markets. Recognizing that the lion's share of pharmaceuticals sales growth will come from emerging markets in the next three to five years, Pfizer's emerging markets chief Michel Halfon plans to put his company on the front lines of fast-growing countries including Mexico, Turkey, Brazil, Russia, and India. And in China, Pfizer's hoping to capitalize on a wave of consolidation among local drugmakers, by partnering up with several of them as it takes on more local staff.

In staffing up in China, Pfizer joins several other drugmakers. Namely Eli Lilly--which said last fall that it would cut hundreds of sales reps in the U.S. but would hire hundreds to further penetrate the Chinese market. And Novartis, as the Wall Street Journal Health Blog points out; the Swiss drugmaker is hiring hundreds of people in China, for both sales and R&D.

Pfizer, like other drugmakers expanding in China, is cutting sales-rep jobs back in the U.S. and Europe. It's too bad that those reps can't just transfer to the other side of the globe.

- read the Reuters news
- get more from the Wall Street Journal Health Blog
- check out the Bloomberg story