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What does a
Pharmaceutical Representative do?

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Other common names for this position: Pharmaceutical Rep, Medical Sales Representative, Medical Sales Rep, Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, Pharmaceutical Sales Rep, Pharmaceutical Sales Agent, Pharmaceutical Salesperson, Pharmaceutical Sales Specialist


Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives advertise, market, and distribute a range of medications, controlled drugs, and other pharmaceutical products to healthcare professionals and medical establishments. They are employed by establishments such as pharmaceutical companies and medical establishments or organizations, or they may be self-employed and contract their services to other companies.

Primary Responsibilities

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Pharmaceutical Representatives are required to complete.

  • Meeting with Physicians and hospital teams and make presentations to persuade potential customers to use their products, instead of those from other companies:
  • Assessing customers’ needs and resources in order to recommend the appropriate products;
  • presenting product information regarding features, benefits, and new developments;
  • developing reports and proposals as part of the sales presentation to illustrate benefits from the use of the product(s);
  • answering any doubts the customer might have related to the product’s use, price, regulations, and availability;
  • informing customers of promotions and quantity discount prices;
  • preparing and administering sales agreements; and
  • following up with customers after the sale takes place to resolve problems and to provide ongoing support.
  • Combining networking, customer services, and a strong knowledge of medical products in order to make the sale:
  • Identifying prospective customers by using business directories, following leads from existing clients, and attending medical conferences and conventions;
  • building and maintaining relationships with clients, maintaining records, and having in-depth knowledge of the company’s products; and
  • promoting sales to existing clients and identifying potential new ones.
  • Analyzing and reporting sales, call activity, programs, and budgets, as required.
  • Ensuring company standard operating procedures, policies, professional standards, and applicable laws and regulations are followed.
  • Staying updated on new products, pharmacy regulations, treatments, and developing trends in the market, as well as being up-to-date with rival products:
  • Attending conferences, conventions, and trade shows to meet other sales representatives and clients in order to discuss new product developments;
  • reading and getting informed about new and existing products; and
  • monitoring sales, prices, and products of their competitors.

Daily Tasks

  • Contacting new and existing customers to discuss their needs and to explain how specific products can meet these needs.
  • Helping customers select products based on their needs, product specifications, and regulations.
  • Answering customers’ questions about prices, availability, and product uses.
  • Negotiating prices and terms of sale and service agreements.
  • Preparing sales agreements and submitting orders for processing.
  • Collaborating with colleagues to exchange information, such as selling strategies and marketing information.
  • Following up with customers to make sure they’re satisfied with their purchases and to answer any questions or concerns.

The average salary for Pharmaceutical Representative related jobs is $48,320 per year or $25 per hour. This is around 1.5 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $34,000 while most experienced workers make up to $68,000. These results are based on 5 salaries extracted from job descriptions.

Gross Salary48,320.00 $
CPP- 2,218.56 $
EI- 908.42 $
Federal Tax- 5,161.38 $
Provincial Tax- 2,577.27 $
Total Tax- 10,865.62 $
Net Pay*37,454.38 $
In Ontario, Canada, if you make 48,320.00 $ a year, you will be taxed 10,865.62 $. That means that your take home pay will be 37,454.38 $ per year, or 3,121.20 $ per month. Your average tax rate is 22.49% and your marginal tax rate is 49.12%.
* Deductions are calculated based on the tables of Ontario, Canada income tax.
Required Skills and Qualifications
  • Outstanding sales abilities and great confidence:
  • Being persuasive and convincing enough to make the sale;
  • being customer-focused;
  • being a flexible seller in case there is more than one product to be offered; and
  • having a consultative and collaborative approach to sales.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills:
  • Communicating clearly, especially verbally, in order to create a clear and communicative environment with customers; and
  • having strong relationship building skills.
  • Strategic thinking and excellent organizational and presentation skills:
  • Identifying issues and resolving problems in a timely manner; and
  • being able to analyze and assess customers’ needs.
  • Self-motivated and energetic.
  • Trustworthy enough to manage sensitive/confidential information:
  • Having a strong work ethic.

A formal education isn’t usually required to become a Pharmaceutical Representative. However, a background in pharmacy, medicine, or life sciences can come in handy, but it’s definitely not strictly essential. In fact, many employers prefer Pharmaceutical Representatives with a Business and Marketing background, after all, the job does focus more on retail than medicine. Furthermore, at least 2 to 3 years of experience in Sales are required for most positions. Many sales representatives attend seminars in sales techniques or take courses in Marketing, Economics, Communication, or even learn a foreign language in order to improve their sales skills.

Pharmaceutical Representatives usually earn commissions for each sale they make, so it can become a very lucrative career for anyone with the right set of skills. On the downside, workers in this occupation can be under considerable stress because their income and job security often depend directly on the amount of merchandise they sell, and their companies usually set goals or quotas that they’re expected to meet.

Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives don’t tend to work in an office, they usually work from home or out of a “mobile office”, usually a car or a suitcase where they keep all their samples and products, thus, they are required to have a valid driver’s licence, as well as a reliable mean of transportation.

Although extra working hours are common since Pharmaceutical Representatives usually work around the schedules of their potential clients, most meetings occur during weekdays in regular working hours. The work also involves a lot of traveling around their local area, but they usually don’t go too far away from their area.

Job Offers
There are currently 206 available job offers for the Pharmaceutical Representative position on Below is a list of available jobs, based on Canada's most populated metropolitan areas.