Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

Pharmaceutical representatives, also known as drug reps or pharmaceutical salespeople, provide drug information and product samples to physicians.



The pharmaceutical-sales field, often called "recession-proof," is popular because it offers excellent salary potential, great benefits, flexibility, opportunity for growth, and frequently the use of a company car. An aging population of baby boomers, the shift away from clinical treatment of illnesses in hospitals, and the fact that people seek a good quality of life as life expectancies continue to increase are among the factors spurring the growth of the pharmaceutical sector. "The pharmaceutical industry is among the largest, most stable, and fastest growing businesses in the entire world," writes Anne Clayton in her book, Insight into a Career in Pharmaceutical Sales. The industry has grown 300 percent in the last decade, according to the Hay Group, a global organizational and human-resources consulting firm.

As a pharmaceutical representative, one would typically represent a particular drug or group of drugs, and would meet with physicians who specialize in the applicable medical field. For example, a drug rep who manages a territory for a drug which treats heartburn would most likely call on gastroenterologists and internists.

A drug rep may work out of a home based office and a company car. They may be required to check in at a regional or local office. However, most of the rep’s time will be spent in their territory, or “in the field” meeting with physicians, or attempting to meet with them by visiting the physicians’ practices. Therefore, a potential rep should be very comfortable being in a car much of the day, traveling to anywhere from four to eight physicians’ offices daily.

In addition to the daily physician visits, reps may be required to attend sales meetings, conference calls, or training sessions with the management team. Drug reps may also do lunchtime presentations at physicians’ offices, supplying lunch for the office staff and discussing the drug’s indications, side effects, features, and benefits.


Educational Requirements

The typical candidate applying for these types of positions will have a four-year college degree in the life sciences, business, marketing or communications. Typically companies will want applicants to have prior sales experience or will train candidates once hired.


Median Salary 2013



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