Zeneca uses contract reps

April 1, 1997
Pharmaceutical Representative

Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, Wilmington, DE, is recruiting and training 250 new contract sales reps who will focus their efforts on reaching cardiovascular physicians.

Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, Wilmington, DE, is recruiting and training 250 new contract sales reps who will focus their efforts on reaching cardiovascular physicians.

"We recognized the need to increase our representation in the field," said Bill Simpson, national business director.

Zeneca had several reasons for using a contract sales force instead of expanding its permanent roster, Simpson said.

First, the company didn't want to tie up its field sales managers and reps in time-consuming recruitment efforts that could affect their sales numbers.

Second, the company said it only anticipates to have a shortage in its detailing muscle for the next two years. "A contract sales force lets us to 'staff up' or 'staff down' without disrupting the full-time field force," Simpson said.

Third, Zeneca wanted to reinforce existing field territories without changing the relationships its full-time reps have with physicians.

The process

The addition of the new reps marks the first time Zeneca has used a contract sales force.

HealthCare Promotions, Middlesex, NJ, is hiring and managing the new contract team. Zeneca's sales training department will coordinate the training for the new reps to ensure that their product knowledge and selling skills are consistent with those of the existing field force.

The company said up to 100 of the contract reps may be hired for permanent positions on its 1,200-rep field force.

The contract sales force will work three days a week promoting Zeneca's cardiovascular products, Zestril® (lisinopril) and Sular® (nisoldipine).

Early last year, Zeneca supplemented its field team by expanding its comprehensive care and oncology care sales forces. The company added about 170 people to its comprehensive care team and 40 people to its oncology force.

In 1996, the company introduced seven new products: Sular; Arimidex® (anastrozole); Zoladex® (goserelin acetate implant) three-month depot; the modified formulation of Diprivan® (propofol) Injectable Emulsion; Kadian® (morphine sulfate sustained release); Merrem® (meropenem); and Accolate® (zafirlukast).

The company said two of its product candidates could be approved this year: Seroquel™ (quetiapine), an antipsychotic, and Zomig™ (zolmitriptan), a migraine drug. PR