What is the difference between a medical and pharmaceutical representative?

Pharmaceutical representatives are responsible for the marketing of pharmaceutical products. These products are scheduled from schedule 1 to 7. The products are governed by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAPHRA) previously known as the Medical Control Council (MCC).  Medical representatives are responsible for the marketing of medical devices or capital equipment and the consumables associated with the devices. A sub type of medical representatives is also referred to as Surgical Representatives where they often play an important role during surgical procedures. 

What is a Professional Sales Representative?

A Professional Sales Representative (PSR) in the healthcare industry, is someone who represents a marketing or manufacturing company of pharmaceutical or medical products. This person is often the holder of a life sciences qualification, especially when the products for which they are responsible are intended to be prescribed for serious conditions or form part of complex treatment regimes.


How do ExpertRep assessments align to the Pharmaceutical Sales Representative qualification?

The Pharmaceutical Sales Representative qualification is an NQF level 5 on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). This means that it is on the same level as a higher certificate.  A National Senior Certificate or Matric certificate is on NQF level 4. The NQF levels are differentiated based on 10 elements of competence.

Some organisations offer learnerships towards achieving the PSR qualification to give disadvantaged individuals the opportunity to enter the market. To date more than 100 people have achieved this qualification through learnerships offered by pharmaceutical companies. These learnerships are managed by external training providers. See our list of training providers (include link when page is ready) who offer the qualification.

The NQF level 5 PSR qualification is governed by the CHIETA (Chemical Industry Education and Training Authority). The CHIETA operates mainly in the mining industry. 

ExpertRep assessment is aimed at assessing competence against an NQF level 7 which represents a Bachelor’s degree or Advanced Diploma. The NQF level 7 qualification is not yet available as a full qualification.


How do I become a PSR / Medical Representative / Pharmaceutical Representative?

Pharmaceutical and medical companies who require representatives to engage with healthcare practitioners are often looking to replace vacant positions or looking for new talent to fit this role.  Direct access to recruitment agents who specialize in the pharmaceutical and medical industry can be found on our careers platform where recruitment agents from all over the industry make available positions visible to prospective representatives. Advice on constructing a CV and interview preparation and interview conduct is also available on this page.

The competencies required to be an expert pharmaceutical or medical representatives are clustered into Five Pillars of Competence and assessments on a variety of topics are available. By completing assessments which have been specifically developed for healthcare representatives, you are demonstrating evidence that you are competent in relevant subject matter.


Why is there not always learning material?

ExpertRep offers a standardized, relevant and credible assessment instrument by which competencies can be benchmarked. Individual representatives can determine their level of competence and team leaders can assess the level of competence of all their team members through completion of assessments available at the Five Pillars of Competence, and in comparison, with other companies in the industry.

Each company makes use of different content and processes to develop their representatives and the level of investment into initial training and ongoing training differs significantly. ExpertRep offers a unique opportunity to assess an organisation’s representative competencies in comparison with other companies. 

The assessments are developmental in nature. It may be required to conduct research to be able to asnwer questions successfully.  The absence of content linked to assessments contributes to the independent nature of the assessments, leading to an objective result which is comparable across the industry.


How do I prepare before attempting an assessment?

Start with reading carefully through the topic summary available on the website. Once you have familiarized yourself with the topics covered in the assessment, reflect on your own competence levels of these topics. Find resources online or within your organisation which you can read or consult to equip you with the relevant knowledge and practical application thereof. Ideally place yourself in a stress-free environment where you are able to focus on the questions in a quiet environment. Login and attempt the sixty questions one-by-one. Remember you can always go back and change your answers. You can logout any time and go back and complete more questions. Once you have completed all sixty questions be sure to click on Finish and submit on both prompts. You will receive your result shortly after you have confirmed your submission.


How do I get a badge?

A badge is awarded to a candidate who successfully achieves 70% or more against a specific topic. If a person does not achieve a minimum of 70% upon first attempt, they may attempt the same topic four more times. If a person was not able to achieve 70% within 5 attempts the assessment may not be repeated within the following 6 months to offer the person time to gain knowledge and experience on the specific topic.


How much must I get to pass?

A 70% result is considered sufficient evidence of competence against a specific topic. You will be awarded a badge on your online profile as evidence of your competence.


What if I fail?

If a person does not achieve a minimum of 70% upon first attempt, they may attempt the same topic four more times. If a person was not able to achieve 70% within 5 attempts the assessment may not be repeated within the following 6 months to offer the person time to gain knowledge and experience on the specific topic.

How long are my badges valid for?

Each badge is valid for 2 years from the date of a 70% or higher mark having been achieved and badge awarded.


Why the Five Pillars of competence?

Extensive research and consultation with industry thought leaders has enabled the development of a relevant and up-to-date assessment platform. Where most training and development follow the traditional sequence of assessing content, ExpertRep conducted extensive research in the role of the representative and what they are supposed to do to excel. From there a competence framework was developed and assessment designed and developed to assess competencies required to perform.


What does the assessment look like?

Each assessment consists of 60 questions randomly selected from a question bank containing all the questions on the specific topic. Some questions will be straightforward knowledge questions and others will require you to critically assess a scenario and apply your mind to possible solutions. There is sometime more than one correct answer but this will be indicated at the specific question.


What happens if I resign from my current company?

If your company invests in your development, they hold the annual subscription license for which they have granted you the login details.  Continued access to your profile should be discussed between yourself and your employer. Your profile and the badges which you have earned cannot be transferred to someone else. Your profile will remain open unless your employer requests to disable remote login to your profile. Your profile will remain dormant for two years unless you or another employer renew your annual subscription.


How do I login?

Your login details will be provided to you by your Account Executive or Management team. For easy steps to login for the first time, see the guidelines here. 


Who has access to my information on ExpertRep?

We respect your privacy. You are the only person, other than the content administrator who has access to your own. Your team leader will receive a report on your activities and performance. By accepting the terms and conditions of the site upon first login, you consent to your information being shared with your team management.