ABPI Exam name change to widen professional appeal

A key pharmaceutical qualification has been given a new name to reflect its broader relevance to roles across the industry.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has renamed its key pharmaceutical qualifications to better describe their broad applicability across industry roles and responsibilities [1].

Formally known as the ‘Professional Programmes for Medical Representatives,’ the exams will now be called the ‘Professional Programmes for Industry Personnel’ - although there are no changes to the Code requirements that require only medical representatives and generic sales representatives to pass such an exam.

The ABPI qualifications have existed in some form since the 1960s and provide professional training and accreditation to ensure ethical and effective medicine promotion aligned with the ABPI Code of Practice [2].

Since its inception, the number of students registering to take the exam has steadily increased, reaching an average of around 1,000 people per year.

Historically between 40-50 per cent of candidates were in pharmaceutical sales roles. However, recently the exam is being taken by a broader range of professionals, with particular increases in registrations from marketing and clinical professionals.

One in 10 of those taking the exam do not work in the industry at the time of registering – suggesting candidates may be taking the exam to improve their chances of pursuing a future career in the industry.

While the majority of those taking the exam are based in the UK, a growing number of people taking the exam are based outside the UK, with leading locations including Pakistan, Singapore South Africa, Uganda, and the USA.

The international appeal of the UK based exam reflects the high international regard for the standards set by the ABPI Code of Practice and the associated qualifications.

Andrew Croydon, ABPI Education and Examinations Policy & Partnerships, said:
“The diversity of our candidates is a testament to the exams' comprehensive nature. They are not just for sales roles but are useful for anyone aiming to deepen their understanding of the industry and develop an in-depth understanding of specific disease areas.”

The high quality and content of the exams remain unchanged, providing more than just mandatory competent compliance with the ABPI Code of Practice.

The ABPI encourages professionals from all parts of the industry to consider these qualifications as part of their Continuing Professional Development (CPD), highlighting the organisation's dedication to inclusivity and adaptability in meeting the evolving needs of the pharmaceutical sector.

  • ABPI Exam
  • ABPI Code

Last modified: 06 February 2024

Last reviewed: 06 February 2024

The ABPI exists to make the UK the best place in the world to research, develop and use new medicines. We represent companies of all sizes who invest in discovering the medicines of the future. 

Our members supply cutting edge treatments that improve and save the lives of millions of people. We work in partnership with Government and the NHS so patients can get new treatments faster and the NHS can plan how much it spends on medicines. Every day, we partner with organisations in the life sciences community and beyond to transform lives across the UK.