Opinion Former Article

NOAH: 2009 top sales rep students announced

The names of the three top students from NOAH member companies who sat the Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority (AMTRA) examinations for sales representatives of marketing authorisation holders (MAH) during 2009 were unveiled at the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) annual dinner held at One Whitehall Place, London, on April 21st.

The overall winner was Emma Southgate from Novartis Animal Health, while Melanie Read of Boehringer Ingelheim was runner up with Mary Else, also from Novartis, in 3rd.

Speaking at the certificate presentation, NOAH's new chairman Bob Parmenter congratulated the winners and said: "Over the years AMTRA has operated two levels of examination - one for SQPs and one for the representatives of our own industry. We have been aware for some time that there is confusion about which qualification is relevant to which person - indeed, that there are two different qualifications.

"To help clarify things, NOAH is planning to relaunch the second of those qualifications as the 'NOAH Certificate of Animal Health'. This will make it clear to the veterinary practices, animal health merchants and the increasing number of professional pet shops - wherever company representatives go - exactly which qualification visiting representatives are studying for or have gained, irrespective of their previous background. This qualification covers some topics, details of legislation for instance, that may not even be covered while studying for a veterinary degree".

He said that was illustrated by the fact that one of the top students had in fact previously gained the AMTRA SQP qualification and added: "By renaming 'our' qualification, this leaves the AMTRA branding to the SQP - a qualification recognised in law and fully supported by the animal medicines industry. We look forward to our continued work with AMTRA, including helping to develop CPD to ensure the excellent advice given by SQPs is up-to-date".

Earlier the 6 top students of the year(1), two from each of the three AMTRA Marketing Authorisation Holders'(MAH) examinations held during 2009, had been presented a certificate by AMTRA chairman Bob Stevenson in recognition of their hard work.

NOAH has always sponsored prizes for the highest scoring entrants in the AMTRA MAH Examination. The sponsorship another indication of NOAH's ongoing commitment to industry self-regulation and the need for all manufacturers' representatives to pass an examination, ensuring only the best advice is given to prescribers, suppliers and users of animal medicines.

For further information contact Alison Glennon or Phil Sketchley NOAH, on 020 8367 3131.
Notes for Editors
1. The National Office of Animal Health was formed on 1 January 1986 to represent UK companies which research, develop, manufacture and market licensed animal health products. In 2009 NOAH's members accounted for around 90% of the UK animal medicines market.

2. The AMTRA MAH (Marketing Authorisation Holder) examination is the industry's own training and qualification scheme. The syllabus and training has been provided by AMTRA in liaison with NOAH's Education Committee. It is a requirement for all NOAH member company representatives promoting POM-V, POM-VPS and NFA-VPS medicines and also for non-member companies in the NOAH Compendium to take the examination and be entered on the AMTRA Register. It is a very high level academically recognised qualification and holders are ideally placed to provide high quality advice to veterinarians, SQPs, pharmacists and other users of animal medicines.


AMTRA MAH Examinations April 2009

1st : Emma Southgate, Novartis Animal Health Limited (Overall winner)

I am currently working for Novartis Animal Health on the companion animal side. I joined Novartis in May 2008 and have been managing clinics in parts of Essex and north east London. Recently I have been promoted to Senior Territory Manager and I hope to move into Key Account Management.

I am a qualified veterinary nurse and moved into sales just over 4 years ago after working as a small animal nurse in Essex. Working in the industry satisfies both my love of science and animals and I find this continually drives me to want to learn more.

I have a great passion for pug dogs and in my spare time I enjoy walking my own pug George and catching up with family and friends.

2nd : Margaret McGuinness, Vetoquinol UK Limited

I have been with Vetoquinol UK Ltd since July 2007 as Territory Manager for Scotland, having previously spent 14 years as a Medical Representative and Field Trainer. My job is very varied as it involves a lot of travelling, often to beautiful parts of the country, calling on both Small Animal and Large Animal Vets. Vetoquinol sell a wide range of products, including anti-infectives, anaesthetics, NSAIDs and nutraceuticals for both companion animals and cattle. As well as the commercial aspects of the job, I enjoy the educational side - I do lots of in-practice training meetings and my company provides well-respected educational support for many of its disease areas, including very popular CPD meetings.

I enjoyed the challenge of doing the AMTRA training, and even the exam! I particularly liked the week-long course at Harper Adams, especially the lab sessions which brought it all to life, and felt that this was important in helping to consolidate what I knew previously, what I had learned via product training at Vetoquinol and what was in the AMTRA manual.

I live by the coast in the West of Scotland and enjoy walking, painting, my 2 cats and occasionally borrowing the odd dog or children for the day!

AMTRA MAH Examinations July 2009

1st : Melanie Read, Boehringer Ingelheim Limited (Overall runner-up)
I graduated with an honours degree in Applied Biology in 2001, since then I have had a variety of research roles, with my main interest being microbiology. I was fortunate enough to spend three months in Brazil researching zoonotic diseases towards a PhD. Before joining Boehringer in May 2008, I worked in 'human' pharmaceutical sales for Merck Serono, so had a lot to learn in joining the veterinary sales industry as a territory manager. I am responsible for the small animal portfolio covering East Anglia, but in terms of disease areas, focus mainly on cardiology and osteoarthritis. The AMTRA exam has enabled me to have a better understanding of the veterinary industry and to appreciate the huge array of species and diseases that vets and nurses have to deal with on a daily basis.
I live north of Cambridge with my husband of 18 months and enjoy travelling whenever possible.
2nd : Christopher Lawrence, Boehringer Ingelheim Limited

I am currently working for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica as a territory manager covering mainly the Midlands and parts of Lincolnshire.

I predominantly look after companion animal practices promoting a range of POM-V products in the disease areas of osteoarthritis and heart disease and also a number of nutraceuticals.

I graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in 2005 with a 2:1 degree in human biology. After university I worked for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals as a medical representative before joining Boehringer Ingelheim in May 2008.

I currently live in the centre of Birmingham and outside of work I enjoy going to the gym, playing snooker and spending time with friends and family.

Undertaking the AMTRA MAH course vastly increased my knowledge of animal disease and physiology and I found the course interesting and enjoyable.

AMTRA MAH Examinations September 2009

1st : Mary Else, Novartis Animal Health Limited (Overall 3rd)

Born & bred in Derbyshire on a small beef farm, dad always insisted that there was no job for me at home, so I'd better go and get some "papers" and a job elsewhere!

Graduated from Nottingham University in 1991, with BSc (Hons) in Agricultural Science, before working in Australia on a dairy & arable farm.

I spent the last 18 years working around the country in the agricultural trade both in nutrition and animal health, with Youngs Animal Health, Rumenco and Cornwall Farmers Ltd, before settling down with a Welsh sheep farmer. This prompted a move to my current position as Key Account Manager with Novartis Animal Health Ltd in South Wales from July 2008.

I look after the farm animal side of the business (sheep & cattle only) as part of the Welsh team, and deal with the agricultural trade, selling Novartis' range of Endo and Ectoparasiticides. Stock numbers are high, farmers are "shrewd" and prices & competition are keen, coupled with the challenge of dealing with the variety of characters who trade here life is rarely dull!

Having already experienced one round of AMTRA exams as an SQP, I wasn't particularly looking forward to another lot to gain my MAH, especially as everyone else on the course at Harper Adams seemed to be 15 years or so younger than me! Passing it was a real relief, the qualification does give you more confidence in talking "technical" when the need arises and certainly helps me to run SQP CPD training sessions for those all important points!

2nd : Ashley Theasby, Merial Animal Health Limited

I am employed by Merial Animal Health as the Territory Manager for the South West of England covering Devon and Cornwall. My role involves managing both trade and vet customers in relation to our production animal product portfolio.

I graduated from the University of Exeter in 2001 with a BSc. Geography degree. Prior to working for Merial (where I have been for the last 12 months) I was employed in the horticulture industry and have greatly enjoyed the new learning opportunities and challenges presented with the change from plant to animal science.

I recently completed building my own house so have only just begun to enjoy the luxury of spare time again which I fill by keeping fit at the gym and surfing and reading a good book".

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