Arias, Sales, China

As a medical representative for GSK, Arias Yang and his colleagues are the bridge between Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) and our products in China. 

We interviewed him to find out his daily duties, how he got to where he is now, and his aspirations for the future.

Arias – you’re a medical representative in Shanghai. What does your role entail?

I’m one of three representatives responsible for two busy hospitals in Shanghai. To give it some context, there are about 5,000 patients treated in each of these hospitals by around 30 doctors. We’re essentially the bridge between doctors and our new products through academia/science-driven promotions. A lot of it is about being prepared, focusing on content and having access to information.

That sounds interesting. Tell us a bit more about your day-to-day…

Our main responsibility is to engage HCPs and understand what they know about diseases and products. We connect HCPs with our latest medicines that are available to patients with the support of authoritative clinical evidence. As doctors don’t always know the latest developments, my job as a medical rep is to keep them in the know. We engage HCPs in many different ways such as Patient Focus Scientific Selling (PFSS), Hospital Talk (HT) and Multi-Channel Marketing (MCM). For example we use https://health.gsk-china.com which is a one-stop digital platform for HCPs to get medical information and services.

Each day is exciting for me, because I feel that the pharmaceutical industry is evolving in China right now. GSK in particular encourages transparent, open relationships and a lot of companies have followed suit. We are now focusing on what’s important – to bring science and innovative products to the people of China.

What’s been your biggest challenge lately?

One of GSK’s objectives is to make our medicines and vaccines accessible to the patients and consumers who need them, irrespective of where they live and their ability to pay. This can be a challenge.

There are also challenges I face that are specific to my role. Thanks to a joint effort from our government affairs commercial teams, there are 39 products in China on the national/provincial Reimbursement Drug List. I worked closely with the government affairs and business development teams to get one of our products listed at my hospitals, so that it could be accessible to and benefit more patients. There was a lot of internal and external meetings during that period of time. This is usually quite difficult but my colleagues and I made sure HCPs and the hospitals had all the information they needed. It was a real team effort. Ultimately, we managed to get it listed within three months, which is really a short timeframe in comparison to others.

You seem to handle a lot of people, processes and topics. How do you manage this flow of information and level of responsibility?

Through training and coaching from my line manager, I have learnt how to prioritise projects and do sales planning. This helps me manage the flow of information and engage HCPs in a more efficient way. I’ve also received internal support from the marketing, medical and commercial excellence teams, which has helped me utilise the resources we have and engage HCPs.

More of a personal question – why did you choose GSK?

Firstly, the reputation of the company – it’s the largest pharmaceutical company in Britain with a long history. Secondly, the culture. I admire GSK’s strong focus on patients. The company’s values also align with my own.

Have any previous roles helped you prepare for this one?

My job at GSK is actually my first job. My six-month internship experience at GSK laid a solid foundation for me to become a medical rep. Also an earlier internship at a hospital helped me gain a full picture of the industry.

How do you see your role changing in the next five years?

I’d like to stay in this role for a while. I’m motivated by the prospect of curing disease and helping more and more patients relieve their pain. Working for such a big company has given me the chance to learn from experts and be at the forefront of cutting-edge medicine.

I’m motivated by the prospect of curing disease and helping more and more patients relieve their pain.

Sounds like you’re part of an exciting team – what’s the work culture like?

We have a great culture; we’re always encouraged to communicate with one another and be open to constructive criticism. At the same time, we’re expected to give our own feedback, whether it be any ideas we may have or reporting on the conditions of the hospitals we’re working in.

Finally, is there one piece of advice you’d give to someone interviewing for a job within your team?

I think the most important thing is to be yourself – it benefits both the candidate and the interviewer, to determine whether you’re the right fit for the company. It’s a competitive industry, but very rewarding. Be honest with yourself so that you’re certain GSK is the right place to work for you.

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