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Overview of Pharmaceutical Sales

Pharmaceutical sales jobs involve intense product studying and testing. Pharmaceutical sales representatives are expected to understand basic human anatomy, physiology and clinical pathology. They must also know the indications, usage, and side effects of the drugs they represent as well as know the competitor’s products in order to sell against them.

Often seen as a “dream job” or “piece of cake” position, most pharmaceutical sales representatives will gladly debate this with anyone. A typical day for a pharmaceutical sales representative involves “calling on” or “detailing” 8-10 physicians a day and often 3-5 pharmacists a day. Many representatives do this while covering a territory ranging from a 60-200 mile radius. Most representatives are responsible for covering 100-200 physicians in their area.

Access to these physicians can be very difficult and often provide a challenge to even the most senior pharmaceutical sales representative. Creativity is important to help the sales representative gain access to difficult to see physicians. The typical sales call is often less than 90 seconds unless the sales representative’s sales skills are perfected to grab the physician’s attention.

As a pharmaceutical representative, there are many levels of career growth.

  • Primary Care Representatives
    call on family practice physicians and internal medicine physicians.
  • Specialty Care Representatives
    call on Specialists (cardiology, endocrinologists, urologists, etc)
  • Hospital Representatives, Institutional or Managed Care Representatives
    call on hospitals. Their primary focus is working with managed health care or group purchasing organizations. These representatives spend their time getting their product on the hospital’s formulary plan.
Training and Education Required for Pharmaceutical Sales

Getting a pharmaceutical sales job is often very trying for individuals. It has become increasingly competitive. Getting into the industry takes effort and is not for the meek.  Obtaining a position may involve multiple interviews and the ability to endure rejections.

If you are interested in a career in pharmaceutical sales, you will need a bachelor’s degree (preferably in business, marketing or life science). Also, most companies often require a grade point average of 2.8 or above to qualify for interview. Some entry- level sales positions are available, but most require 1-2 years of proven success in outside sales. Most prefer tangible product sales experience such as copier sales, telecommunications or consumer product sales.

Pharmaceuticals is seen as a thriving industry today. It offers many excellent job opportunities. If you are interested in pharmaceutical sales employment opportunities, please click on our Job Opportunities page to browse our current job opportunities or go directly to search our Pharmaceutical Sales Jobs now.

Salary in Pharmaceutical Sales

For those that desire a challenge, pharmaceutical sales jobs can offer great rewards. Most companies offer a competitive base salary. Starting salaries can range from $40,000 to $60,000 with additional compensation in commission and bonus plans. Most positions offer a car allowance, mileage or company car.

Job Outlook in Pharmaceutical Sales

The pharmaceutical industry is constantly evolving. Companies merge and consolidate sales forces in an effort to best promote their product. Changes in Medicare, Managed Health and FDA requirements keep pharmaceutical manufacturers constantly adjusting their strategies. Regardless of the changing economy, medical and pharmaceutical companies will remain strong and will continue to offer excellent job opportunities.

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