• Press Office

    Posted in category News Release by Press Office on 21/01/2014

    ABPI exam gets a makeover and is accredited for the first time

The ABPI exam for pharmaceutical sales representatives has been accredited for the first time in its forty-year history, and has been relaunched with a new website and learning materials.


The new Medical Representatives exam will be a Level 3 Diploma in the promotion of prescription medicines. New sections have also been added to enhance the knowledge required by candidates and the exam will now have more emphasis on:

• Awareness of implementing the Code of Practice (rather than just knowing it)

• Knowledge of the NHS structure and function in England and the devolved nations 

• Knowledge of the process of drug development, with a focus on clinical development and understanding of statistics  

• The role of a medical representative in collecting drug safety information

• Knowledge of different types of disease and the body’s defence against disease

• The principles of pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics

The changes to the exam have been made in response to feedback from companies, and will provide assurances that representatives have a good understanding of human biology, the Code of Practice and the new NHS. Developments have been overseen by an Exam Steering Group made up of training and compliance managers from a number of ABPI member companies.

Sarah Jones, ABPI Head of Education, said;

“The ABPI exam is highly respected in the industry and the healthcare professional community. I am delighted that the ABPI exam will be accredited from now on, meaning that, for the first time, it will have a formal standing on the UK education system. The exam plays a key role in ensuring that pharmaceutical sales representatives are appropriately trained and have the background knowledge required for them to be able to confidently engage with healthcare professionals and ultimately play a part in ensuring patients get access to the most appropriate medicines.”


Notes to editor

About the exam

The ABPI Medical Representatives Exam is taken by representatives who call upon doctors, dentists and other UK prescribers and/or promote medicines on the basis of their therapeutic properties.

The ABPI Generic Sales Representatives Exam (which will be a Level 3 Certificate in the promotion of prescription medicines) is taken by representatives who promote medicines primarily on the basis of price, quality and availability to those who do not prescribe medicines.

It is a requirement of the ABPI Code of Practice that the Exam is sat during the first year of employment in such a role and must be passed within two years. A person can be employed as a medical sales representative without having previously passed the ABPI Exam. It is possible to take the Exam in advance of applying for jobs in this area. 

What will change for candidates who are part way through the exam?

• Candidates who are part way through taking the Exam will be able to continue to take unaccredited exams up until end December 2015

• Candidates who are already registered, but who are yet to take any exams, will be offered the opportunity of switching to the accredited Exam if they wish. They will still be able to take the unaccredited exams until December 2015

Media enquiries

ABPI Press Office
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7747 1441
Mobile: +44 (0) 7850 312064
Email: pressoffice@abpi.org.uk 

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