November 17

John and Dayna in Uganda – A GSK colleague in Uganda.

How often does one get the opportunity to meet with a “work colleague” 10,000 miles from home?

I had the fantastic occasion to have a meal with a GSK Country Manager here in Uganda. Nathan Wasolo (who joined the company in 1999) was kind enough to come meet me and answer the multitude of questions I had about what it is like to work for GSK in Uganda. He is a delightful individual, and was extremely interesting to speak with.

So…… Similarities? Differences? Yep to both!

Structure:
For the entire country of Uganda, there is one Pharma Sales Supervisor for a team of 11 Pharma representatives. Nathan is the Country Manager, covers all of Uganda, and deals with organizations such as the Ministry of Health, the National Drug Authority, NGOs, distributors as well as key opinion leaders in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. He also makes 2 coaching calls per quarter with each medical rep as well as checking on major customers (both doctors and pharmacists).

Portfolio:
GSK in Uganda promotes: Antibiotics (for example, Augmentin, Zinnat, Amoxil, Ampiclox), Branded generics (Clavulin, Penamox), Respiratory (Seretide, Avamys), Cardiovascular (generics from Dr. Reddy such as Atocor, Rosucrest, Stamlo), Anesthesia (Nimbex, Tracrium), and Vaccines (MMR, Rotovirus, Pneumococcal, Menengitis, etc) among others. A total of 105 products. Wow!

Product responsibility:
Each rep is responsible for 6 to 8 products with 3 “core” and the rest “secondary”.

Positives of working for GSK in Uganda:
GSK has a great reputation here! They are the industry leader, have great people, low staff turnover, proud employees, strong product portfolio, great tools and facilities and have a focus on emerging markets.

Challenges:
There are many: Doctors sell products from their offices, generic pricing is a problem, substitution at the pharmacy is an issue, debt collection (for distributors) is difficult at times, sales data is not 100% accurate.

Also, there are supply chain problems, competition issues, registering new products takes a lot of time (example: been waiting for Avodart in this country for years), and logistical delays with obtaining promotional materials.

Other fun facts:
• Reps can give out pens and other assorted items to customers
• Reps can take customers out for a meal (limits exist)
• No proactive sampling
• The call on clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, NGOs
• Insurance was not a major factor in Pharma business here. It is becoming more prevalent and is a threat to GSK because they insist on lower cost generics.
• The teams do promotional meeting programs regularly.
• The company pays a yearly performance based bonus in addition to salary, and some quarterly product performance incentive payouts
• Everyone is entitled to a minimum of 24 days vacation
• Company cars are one option, or an interesting “Loan Option” exists (rep can get a low interest loan on a car to use for work/personal, and get monthly allowance for maintenance, etc).

It was enjoyable to spend time learning about working for GSK in another country, and it was also interesting to answer Nathan’s questions about working for GSK in America (which centered around Obamacare, legalities, structure, and portfolio).

Another PULSE perk – meeting new friends and colleagues.