Medical Device Sales Insider News

From our good friends at Becker’s Hospital Review:

The medical device industry may be in an interesting era of both more innovation and regulation. With the upholding of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, manufacturers will face a 2.3 percent excise tax on all devices they produce. This has some in the industry nervous about what will happen; others, including Bob Kinsella, president of Kinsella Group, think it could spur innovation.

6 Great Biotech Careers

The field of science and biotechnology is continually changing as new discoveries are made. Biotechnology is the scientific field which focuses on life sciences and its applications in various products and services. Careers in biotechnology and science can lead in many different directions from new applications for environmental protection to the development of life-saving drugs. In the right careers, this is a very lucrative industry. If you’re interested in a career in biotechnology and science, there are the six highest-paying options

Biotechnology Sales Representative

Sales representatives in the field of biotechnology learn about the most recent developments before they even hit the market. It is then the job of the sales representative to determine the best way to market and sell each new product, generating the necessary revenue to support further developments in this field. To land a job as a sales representative in the biotechnology field, applicants are usually required to have a degree in some type of life sciences. This equips the sales representative to easily research and understand each new product. The annual salary for these sales representatives ranges from $70,000 to $118,000, including commission.

Biotech Research Scientist

Biotech research scientists are at the forefront of new trends and discoveries in all areas of biotechnology. Careers in this area can be very diverse, focusing on anything from new medical developments to the way various organisms affect our food supply. Individuals who enjoy employing the scientist method, doing in-depth research, and making new discoveries are well-suited to this field. A degree in life sciences is required for a career as a biotech research scientist. This career was ranked 76 in CNN Money’s list of the 100 Best Jobs in America. The median salary for a biotech research scientist is $90,000 with top earnings as high as $136,000.

Biotech Manufacturing Engineer

Biotech manufacturing engineers work on the developmental side of new advancements in this field. While research scientists develop the products and sales representatives sell them, manufacturing engineers are the vital connection that ensures each new product is safely and effectively manufactured. While a background in life sciences is still important to this field, a biotech manufacturing engineer will most likely need a degree in engineering. The salary for a biotech manufacturing engineer ranges from $50,000 to $100,000 on average.

Health and Safety Engineers

Health and safety engineers have an important job to do. Individuals with careers in this area must analyze current systems and develop new improvements to keep the population as a whole safe from various diseases and accidents. Both science and engineering are crucial to this field. Education for this field should include courses on physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, environmental safety, and industrial hygiene. The median annual wage for health and safety engineers is $75,430. Those with earnings in the top ten percent made over $114,470 each year. Government positions are typically associated with the highest salaries for this field.

Clinical Research Associate

Clinical research associates are responsible for the testing processes and procedures that ensure new medical technologies are safe and effective. A variety of studies are conducted with volunteers before any new medication is put on the market. Long before a sales representative can sell the product, a clinical research associate must oversee various studies, collect data, and evaluate test results. These tests typically take place in hospital or laboratory settings. These careers may require long hours, weekend shifts, and round-the-clock observation for some cases. The salary for a clinical research associate ranges from $51,637 to $63,531.

Forensic DNA Analyst

The job of a forensic DNA analyst is relatively new. DNA testing is a powerful innovation that gives law enforcement professionals a new tactic for investigating crimes. Though DNA testing appears quick and simple on television programs, this career actually requires a great deal of knowledge and experience in the field of biotechnology. Attention to detail is essential for a forensic DNA analyst. The test results that are obtained by these professionals can lead to a criminal conviction and absolutely must be accurate. These analysts are responsible for testing DNA, working with police and investigators, and even giving testimony in court. The salary for this position can range from $28,118 to $68,510.

Careers in biotechnology are diverse. From the researcher who develops new products to the sales representative who sells them to distributors and makes them available to the public, every position in this field is important. Biotechnology is continually growing as new advancements are made in this field. If you enjoy scientific analysis, read about new research and developments in your free time, and find life sciences and engineering to be fascinating areas, then many of these careers in biotechnology and science are ideally suited to you. Not only will you make a real difference with a career in this area, you can also make a comfortable living.

Biotech Career Confidential

We recently spoke with an anonymous member of the Biotechnology Community, and they agreed to give the scoop on several aspects of a Biotechnology Career:

What are the profit margins like in general, R&D included?

The profit margins are not that great on RX drugs, in fact the majority of the time we lose money on prescription drugs. Not in the traditional sense of recouping material costs, but in the form of we could be making alot more money making OTC drugs.

Can you describe the supply chain of ingredients your company used?

The supply chain in our industry is rather unique. The majority of our materials exist in some form on the standard market, but are unusable as we have an internalized testing lab that has higher specs than 99% of the stuff out there. So we have unofficial contracts to cherry pick the best stuff or have it made for us. Another thing is the FDA requires extremely qualified vendors, meaning we are stuck with single sourced materials even if they misbehave and ship us a bad batch or ship late.

Do you think your company, and the industry in general, provides adequate insurance-agnostic financial aid to people in need? (for RX drugs)*

Everyone at our plant gets 10 free OTC products a week and can apply for pet prescriptions. I was a contractor so I can’t say much else about benefits.

How many hours a week do you work? I got the impression that the reason why the BMS campus was so rad was so that they could keep their employees there for insane hours. (Esp. With the built in hair salon, bank, and convenience store)

During cough cold buildup I worked 60 hours a week. The only facility was a cafeteria that served subsidized meals. I was hourly so it was not that bad.

Once a new drug is released to the general public, new adverse reactions that couldn’t be found in human testing will emerge. The FDA mandates that drug companies keep doctors apprised of these new side effects. However, it’s well known that many doctors don’t pay attention to these updates. This means that drug companies can follow the law and notify doctors, while still successfully encouraging doctors to over-prescribe the medication. And that’s a pretty big problem. Any ideas about how this problem could be fixed, or at least mitigated? Or is that not the kind of thing you dealt with in your job?

There is a reason there is a complaints number on your bottle. According to FDA mandate every complaint is logged. Reactions go to R&D and manufacturing go to the plant. I did not deal with drug development just manufacturing, so I can’t speak to their level of detail but a complaint as small as one or two broken pills causes such a stir it can mean production redesign or formulation changes. The only R&D I worked with was for over coming production issues.

Are there opportunities for molecular biology within the field? I’ve been trying to find a better job for a while, but haven’t considered Big Pharma much. How’d you get started in a Biotechnology Career?

I got hired out of school, but you need to be willing to relocate a lot. Two words for you: Animal Health. Pfizer has a huge biological division just for AH and it prints money. It’s least likely to be hit by any legislation and the margins are 10x what people drugs are.

How do you feel about marketing drugs directly to people via television  commercials?

I don’t like it, but I think a lot more responsibility should fall on the doctor to explain why it’s the right/wrong choice.

Side-effect updates are supposed to make doctors more cautious about prescribing medications. However, there are two problems that tend to prevent this outcome. The first is that doctors tend not to pay attention to side-effect updates. Secondly, drug companies are good at obeying the letter of the law while still encouraging doctors to over-prescribe medication. I was wondering if you have any thoughts on how the FDA could mitigate each of these problems.

It’s a tough question, anything you do via the FDA is just going drive cost increases and thus pass it onto the patient.

Has your experience in the industry affected your daily life in that, “Once you’ve seen how sausage is made…” kind of way?

If anything it makes me more comfortable as I know how much quality goes into things.
And I don’t care about drug expirations any more.

About drug expirations, could you elaborate a bit on what the criteria are for setting the expiry date for a drug?*

Basically it boils down to a labelling law. Over time things break down and loose potency, our label says one thing yet the actual content is different. That’s where the bulk of the issues come from. Sure there are cases where things can go bad like a sugar based syrup but those are all subjected to microbial purification and testing before they are released. All the plastic we used as been tested under every condition you can think of over periods three times the shelf life of the product, so no contamination from container break down can occur either.

Also, this is a more generic (and possibly better question), but how do the big boys’ production lines look? At the pill factory, we had individual presses isolated in there own little cubicles. They had fifty some-odd dies that spun around, pressing the powder into tablets. Is that what y’all do as well? Or do y’all have cool assembly lines?

Our facility houses 25 packaging lines each doing multiple brands (that’s every size and variation of each brand night time, extra strength, with calcium,etc) and 3 manufacturing areas for the actual pills. Some tablet presses are small like the ones you described and others can be as big as 2 minivans stacked on top of each other. It’s a game of scale as not everything needs a thousand tablet a minute press, due to the setup costs and cleaning times. And to give another sense of the tech involved, we sell a 10g powder packet. The line it is packaged on fills sealed packets that it prints the label with the exp date on at a rate of 1500 packets a minute.

Also know that scene in Portal 2 when you land in old aperture science with all the crazy pipes everywhere? That’s exactly how out liquids mfg area looks.

If pharma didn’t advertise, and demand in America was regulated by insurer/government price-fixing instead of the price mechanism, would that mend the opinion of everyone here of pharma? If not, why not?

It would be the end of R&D for everything except high dollar drugs. It takes years for an OTC product to recoup its developmental costs and those have a fraction of the costs of a full RX drug.

Nursing with a Criminal Record

You may have made a mistake in your past. It happens to all of us. But with a Felony conviction on your record, you may be wondering if you’re able to pursue a Nursing Career. Here is information you should have:

Has your record been expunged? If not, you should come clean to a potential school’s admissions board. However, be prepared to be treated differently than other students if you choose to share that information with those in charge at the program.

Unfortunately, most States will not license persons with felony convictions to be a Nurse [RN,LPN,CNA] and many will not even license persons convicted of misdemeanor crimes related to lying, cheating or stealing. Contact the states Attorneys office in the State where the conviction went on the court record and ask for an “expungement and sealing” information packet. This packet well give you the guidelines for what can or cannot be expunged or sealed and also a list of attorneys who have expertise in this area of law. Expungement and sealing laws differ from State to State and you must get reliable information from the States Attorneys office where the conviction went on the court record.

Your main concern will be acquiring the state license. Get in touch with the state licensing board where you plan to practice nursing, tell them about your felony to see if this would prohibit you from qualifying for the nursing license. You also have to make sure that your felony conviction doesn’t violate Federal or State laws pertaining to health care workers. Some of these laws are onerous, but it varies from state to state. In fact, they may have a list of convictions that would prohibit you from becoming a health care worker.

While a felony or even misdemeanor conviction could present additional hurdles, there are legal steps you can take to minimize your exposure and make sure that potential schools, employers and licensing boards see you as the Nursing Career hopeful that you are, not any sins of the past.

4 Great Pharmaceutical Sales Tips!

You may not be 100% sure on how to figure out which direction is best in your Biotechnology Career. You can think about getting a Pharmaceutical Doctorate but recently you may have thought about becoming a sales rep. Both careers have good base salaries and schedules but if you are not sure on what would be a more realistic goal, here are some tips about working as a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative:

  • You should have good personality, good communication skills and the power to attract people towards you.
  • Companies seem to be moving towards a more cut throat representative, someone who gets in the face of a doctor and really goes for the kill when it comes to selling. If you ask the Doctors, they will throw out any rep who ever cops an attitude with them and you’ll never get a prescription! However, a soft rep will always get blasted by their manager for just being “friendly”.
  • The sales side is largely personality based. For example: If one is highly clinical, kind of an introvert and motivated more by tasks than goals, than the PharmD idea would probably be best? However, if you’re an outgoing, highly driven and goal oriented individual, than sales may be better for you.
  • Pharmaceutical Sales requires a combined skill set of technical, communication, interpersonal and sales. You really need to master all areas to succeed in this industry. In any sales position, it comes down to knowing your product, followed by the ability to understand the customers needs. We are really consultants who help our customers resolve problems. If you’r promoting a class of drugs that involves multiple competitors,you also need to thoroughly understand their products so you can effectively explain the features of yours and how it will benefit your customer.