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22 Apr 2017
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A Real Life Case Study In Pharmaceutical Sales Jobs

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Posted By Dina B.

Here is an interesting pharmaceutical sales jobs scenario involving the very competitive antihypertensive market (blood pressure lowering agents).

This is a market where new antihypertensive drugs are received quite well by many physicians as pharmaceutical companies who market them tend to aggressively promote the additional cardiovascular benefits of their products besides just saying that they simply lower blood pressure.

Not surprising, the most popular drugs on the market tend to be the fairly newer ones. It is extremely difficult to market an older blood pressure drug against the top blockbusters widely used today. But one company was actually successful in doing just that.

This pharmaceutical company had marketing rights to an older but unique alpha-beta blocker antihypertensive that was not widely used, even when it was first launched in the market many years ago by another company.

When the pharmaceutical sales reps with this company asked doctors what they used for their hypertensive patients, the newer drugs were usually mentioned. This was of no surprise. Most of these doctors showed little interest in using an older drug like an alpha-beta blocker. So the company had to find a workable niche.

It turned out that all of the top market leaders in the antihypertensive market were officially indicated for mild to moderate hypertension. This meant that they were all very effective in lowering blood pressure that was not too severely high.

But when it came to patients with severe hypertension, the newer drugs did not do a very good job at lowering blood pressure adequately. Doctors often had to combine two and sometimes three or more of the different new drugs to control blood pressure for these severe cases.

This would result in a high cost of treatment for the patients. After all, we are taking about taking a number of these new costly drugs every single day.

Meanwhile, the official indication for this company's older drug was in fact for moderate to severe hypertension. This was a drug that was specifically designed to handle tougher cases of high blood pressure. And as a bonus, this older drug was not expensive compared to the newer agents.

So the pharmaceutical sales reps went into their sales calls and got the acknowledgement that there was indeed a major weakness with the newer antihypertensive agents. The doctors admitted that the big blockbusters just couldn't handle the severe cases on single drug therapy.

The reps quickly offered the ideal solution which was to use their older drug which was specifically indicated for this tougher group of patients.

They stressed that the cost of treatment with their product would be significantly lower than compared to combining a few of the newer agents together.

They even gave out a pocket sized price comparison card which listed the cost of treatments using the different antihypertensive drugs on the market. The doctors loved this piece as it was a handy reference tool for them.

Although this company was not able to make any major dents in the sales of the market leaders with its older product, it wasn't the expectation. By sliding in the older drug for a specific group of patients that the newer medications weren't able to address very well, the pharmaceutical sales reps were able to carve out a healthy niche for themselves in this competitive market as sales for their product went up quite nicely.

The Lesson

The lesson from this particular case is that sometimes it is possible to successfully sell an older drug against the new blockbusters. It's a matter of finding weaknesses that the new products had.

The pharmaceutical sales reps for this small company promoted their older drug as a solution for the problems doctors had with their patients with severe hypertension. These reps identified and successfully went after that niche.

Incidentally, I was the product manager who developed this selling strategy for the drug discussed in this case. It was a great feeling to watch the pharma reps in my company succeed in selling this older product in such a competitive market.

Helping customers with their problems is part of successful selling and showing that you understand this concept during your interviews would help you come across as a high potential candidate for pharmaceutical sales rep jobs. It's up to you to show companies how you can help with their sales.

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