I know managers in my market who won't even look at a pharma resume if they've been outside the top 25% of their company in the last 3-5 years. It's that competitive in places. I know at least one manager who won't look at a resume that isn't handed in by one of his reps or a rep he knows. His thinking is that the reps know who the best reps are and you're not going to give him the resume of a dumb ass.
Merck has traditionally been a company that has hired a lot of former teachers.
The best advice I can give you if you really want to break into the medical/pharma industry is to get some sales experience. Sell something, anything. After 6 mo with sales experience, assuming it went well, you suddenly are a much more employable candidate.
My advice would be to look in medical before pharma or get into pharma and then get into medical within 2 years.
I enjoyed my time in pharma for 11.5 years. But if I were going back it'd be into surgical, devices or plastics.