The Medical Representatives Certification Commission (MRCC) has published its competency standards for the first national certification program for pharmaceutical and biotech sales professionals. The publication of these national standards marks a crucial step forward in the creation of the program and its examinations which will validate medical representatives’ performance and knowledge against established minimal competency levels.
To generate a basis for the standards and content of the exam, MRCC, an independent not-for-profit commission, conducted an extensive job analysis study with input from biotech and pharmaceutical professionals and licensed healthcare practitioners. This group of healthcare leaders identified and validated five major areas of practice in which representatives will be tested: Regulatory Compliance and Ethical Conduct, Customer Interaction, Administrative, Clinical and Therapeutic Knowledge, and Marketplace Knowledge.
According to the published national standards, medical representatives must demonstrate knowledge and skill in the following:
Regulatory Compliance and Ethical Conduct
The medical representative must protect the interests of patients and other stakeholders by complying with federal, state, and local laws, regulations, guidelines, and policies.
The medical representative must support informed decision making in accordance with customer and patient needs, customer and patient feedback, settings, and applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, guidelines, and policies. The medical representative must identify appropriate product options, address payer-access challenges, provide fair, balanced, and accurate information, and maintain the physical integrity of the product and its packaging.
The medical representative must complete organizational and administrative tasks in accordance with federal, state, local, and corporate laws, regulations, guidelines, and policies.
Clinical and Therapeutic Knowledge
The medical representative must be well-versed in clinical and therapeutic knowledge since they are essential to effective consultation with customers and include broadly applicable concepts and terminology.
Knowledge of the marketplace ensures the medical representatives’ ability to interact effectively and appropriately in the environments in which they work. This includes concepts in managed care and formulary process as well as healthcare settings, roles and training.
“The healthcare community is calling for more transparency and value from the biopharmaceutical industry,” says J. Lyle Bootman, PhD, ScD, Chair of the Medical Representatives Certification Commission. “By holding the industry’s medical representative profession to a uniform standard of competency, the industry will align itself to meet the demands of a changing healthcare industry – one where nearly every other profession is held accountable to some form of competency standard. MRCC certification, validated by these national standards, will better position medical representatives to provide value that will ultimately improve patient care.”
Professionals with a baccalaureate degree granted by a United States regionally accredited college/university AND at least six months employment as a practicing medical representative are eligible to apply for MRCC Certification. Alternatively, representatives with at least two years of related experience will be allowed to sit for the exam.
In addition, certificants also must pledge to abide by a code of conduct and recertify through continuing education every two years.
Applicants wishing to take the certification exam at an approved testing center may apply online. A practice test and the Certificant Handbook, which will guide an applicant in procedures, policies and preparation, are also available online.
The Medical Representatives Certification Commission (mrccommission.org) is a not-for-profit certification organization established to provide certification programs for medical representatives who have contact with healthcare professionals in order to discuss their pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device or diagnostic products. MRCC’s certification programs will benefit patients, the healthcare community, and certificants’ employers by providing a well-researched standard of competency and ethical conduct and a continuously updated process of examination to ensure certificants meet those standards. For medical representatives, recognition by a third party enhances the credibility and reputation of certified professionals.