Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Job

Pharmaceutical sales representative job description

For a given territory, a pharmaceutical sales representative is in charge of developing relationships with pharmacists and doctors to promote the products of the pharmaceutical company that employs him/her. There are more than 58,000 pharmaceutical representatives in Canada who find numerous advantages of the job: flexible schedules, high pay, a company car and certain freedoms, however, there is also a great deal of pressure from one’s sales department, as well as fierce competition between pharmaceutical companies. For this reason, the best approach to the job is through networking. Companies resort to advertising only when word-of-mouth fails to produce results, at which point one’s success rate diminishes: an average of only 150 responses to a publicized offer. Personal skills are more importance than technical knowledge, which can be learned during training sessions.

Principal duties of the pharmaceutical sales representative

  • Analyze one’s territory, assess sales volume and business opportunities
  • Develop and execute a strategic business plan
  • Present product lines, respond to concerns and questions of customers
  • Organize informational sessions, develop partnerships
  • Ensure administrative follow-up


A Bacherlor’s degree, regardless of one’s field of study, is required to work as a pharmaceutical sales representative. Companies prioritize a candidate’s profile and willingness to learn over scientific background.

Obtaining recognition from the CCPE (Council for Continuing Pharmaceutical Education) is an asset.


  • Possess an interest for the sciences and the pharmaceutical industry (context, evolution, stakes)
  • Master sales strategy in general, ideally relating to pharmaceuticals
  • Possess a good foundation in computer science
  • Bilingualism


  • Be a “people person”
  • Listening and persuasive skills
  • Tact and diplomacy
  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Methodical and analytical sense

Salary of the pharmaceutical sales representative

It is a known fact that pharmaceutical sales representative earn a very good living, between the base salary, variable compensation and premiums, without counting the reimbursement of expenses. 


After several years of experience, the pharmaceutical sales representative can phase into general sales, abandoning the pharmaceutical industry, or remain in the health industry to pursue other professions within it. He/she may choose to become a pharmaceutical sales manager, trainer or recruiter of pharmaceutical representatives. network