One of the questions that was recently asked of me by an aspiring pharmaceutical sales rep was whether or not I thought Merck was a good pharmaceutical company to work for. In my opinion, all big pharmaceutical companies, particularly if they have been around for many years, are decent employers.
Having said that, any pharmaceutical company can hit rough times especially if they get into a situation where a drug is suddenly pulled off the market like in the case of Merck’s Vioxx. Changes in senior management can also affect the corporate culture of a pharmaceutical company and in my opinion after many years in the industry, no company is immune to it.
Overall, if a company has survived in the marketplace for many years, it must have done something right but it does have the potential to go through ups and downs as well.
When interviewing for pharmaceutical sales positions, use your own best judgement of the management you are exposed to in the event you get an offer. If you feel that they are people you can work with, then go for the job. If not, wait for another opportunity because your direct manager can indeed make or break your job for you.