China Doctors Earning $300 a Month Flock to Drug Companies

While China faces a shortage of doctors, many newly qualified physicians are abandoning the profession in favour of more lucrative careers in pharmaceutical sales. From Bloomberg:

Mao [Mengjia], 26, tripled his income after quitting his job at a hospital in northeastern China to work as a medical sales representative in 2009. As many as 14,000 physicians like Mao will join foreign pharmaceutical companies over the next five years, according to Aon Corp. (AON)’s Shanghai-based human resources advisory firm ….

“The pay for new doctors is low, which makes it hard to survive,” said Mao, who was one of 30 to graduate in 2005 from the medical college he attended in Dalian, 460 kilometers (286 miles) east of Beijing. Nine of his classmates have jobs in pharmaceutical sales, he said ….

“There is a great lack of doctors at the most primary levels like county and small-city hospitals, and that’s also where it’s hardest to find them,” said Shi Yingkang, dean of the West China Medical School at Sichuan University in Chengdu, and vice president of the Chinese Medical Doctor Association.

After graduation, half of his students spurn local hospitals for better-paying jobs overseas or in drug sales, Shi said. Pay for local rookie doctors starts at 2,000 yuan a month, while medical representatives may get two to three times more, he said.


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