Lilly has come first in the industry’s biggest customer satisfaction survey for best medical sales representatives, jumping from third place last year, and shunting Pfizer into second place, while AstraZeneca moved to third place from last year’s position at number two.  

More than 1,300 nominations representing 125 companies were received in the industry-wide poll, conducted by Binley’s and in January and February this year, which uniquely represents customer views rather than those of the industry. NHS doctors were invited to vote for their favourite representatives based on openness and transparency; provision of services; understanding of medicines guidance within the relevant health economy; therapy knowledge; as well as the representatives doctors most enjoy working with.

Other successes were: Janssen, which moved from eighth to fourth place; Novartis, which jumped two places to seventh; and Bristol-Myers Squibb, which has made an appearance in the top 10 for the first time since 2006. GlaxoSmithKline fell four places to number eight, while Abbott, which ranked number six last year, has dropped out of the top 10.

Forty-two medical device companies were also nominated as part of the poll results for top representatives. Of the total nominations from the poll, 77 were for medical device representatives, spanning areas including surgery, ophthalmics, neurology and skin grafts.

The most nominated medical device company was Ethicon – a Johnson & Johnson company – with 11 nominations. Other companies nominated were: Bard; Boston Scientific; GE Health; Mead Johnson; Olympus; Philips; Siemens; Stryker; and Zimmer.

Sean Morgan-Jones of PharmaTimes says the competition highlights the range of abilities between the different representatives, and the need for continual career development to ensure the customer-facing role meets the needs of the NHS in the new healthcare environment. “The challenge for the industry is to raise the standards of all representatives, which will ensure pharma’s success in the future,” he says.

The poll forms one element of the new PharmaTimes Sales Awards – encompassing PharmaTimes Sales Representative of the Year, and PharmaTimes Business Manager of the Year – which aims to help develop and improve industry’s medical representatives and first-line managers through benchmarking data and qualitative feedback, as well as recognising excellence at all levels of career development.

The new competition has 22 categories – five for sales managers and 17 for representatives. Entry to the sales representative categories is through doctor nominations, while entry to the sales manager, key account manager and team categories is either through direct entry or by nomination from industry colleagues, and this is now open for entry.

The next stage of the competition for the best representatives is the finals day on 13 June, run by PI Partnership at Twickenham Rugby Club, where physician assessors will rate the representatives’ ability to communicate the value of their medicines and services in a number of in-call competency areas. The competition for sales managers closes on 30 May.

The winners of the Sales Awards will be announced on 11 July in Central London.

To see if you are one of the 1,300 nominated sales representatives go to and to enter the competition for sales managers, go to:

Follow the progress and results in PharmaTimes Magazine – subscribe here: