Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Salary Guide and Career Outlook

Pharmaceutical sales representatives earn on a mean basis $88,812 in the United States and C$66,391 ($52,194 USD). In the United Kingdom, the mean stands at 44,000 ($58,790 USD). Mean salaries for these workers are AU$76,582 ($59,143 USD) in Australia and NZD$51,208 ($35,954 USD) in New Zealand.

For pharmaceutical sales representatives in India, pay averages INR2,91,475 (INR291,475 in Western form) ($4,552 USD) in India. Those in South Africa fetch a mean pay of R324,004 ($28,685 USD).

pharmaceuticals sales representative salary

How Much Does a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Make per Year by State?

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative SalaryUSCanadaUKAustraliaNew ZealandIndiaSouth Africa
Hourly Pay$42.70C$31.92£21.15AU$36.82NZD$24.62INR140.13R155.77
Annual Pay$88,812C$66,391£44,000AU$76,582NZD$51,208INR2,91,475R324,004

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Salary Influencing Factors

As a sales occupation, commissions constitute a significant factor in the pay of pharmaceutical sales representatives. The size of the drug maker affects potential commissions and base pay. More accumulated experience generally translates to higher compensation. Within countries, certain cities afford pay at least slightly above the national averages.

1. Location

PayScale reports that representatives in Dallas have salaries plummeting to 21 percent under the United States mean. Salaries rest at 11 percent below in Los Angeles and 10 percent in New York. Pharmaceutical sales representatives in Houston and Chicago reach one percent above the national average.

In Toronto, the mean dips three percent below Canada’s national average. Pharmaceutical sales representatives can expect one percent less in Vancouver.

According to PayScale, Perth and Canberra in Australia see salaries for pharmaceutical sales representatives at four percent above the Australia national average. Salaries fall four percent under in Sydney and five percent in Brisbane.

Among South African cities, pay in Durban rises six percent above the national mean, while the mean for those in Pretoria rises five percent above the national average. Pharmaceutical sales representatives in Bloemfontein earn three percent less than the national mean.

How Much Does a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Make in the US?

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Salary USPer YearPer Hour
Bonus$6,306 to $107,922$3.03 to $51.89
Total Pay$48,896 to $132,272

How Much Does a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Make in Canada?

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Salary CanadaPer YearPer Hour
BonusC$2,489 to C$20,038C$1.20 to C$9.63
Total PayC$34,152 to C$95,039

How Much Does a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Make in the UK?

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Salary UKPer YearPer Hour
Total Pay£19,000 to £60,000

How Much Does a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Make in Australia?

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Salary AustraliaPer YearPer Hour
BonusAU$1,978 to AU$19,250AU$0.95 to AU$9.25
Total PayAU$51,393 to AU$99,021

How Much Does a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Make in New Zealand?

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Salary New ZealandPer YearPer Hour
Total PayNZD$36,494 to NZD$76,025

How Much Does a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Make in India?

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Salary IndiaPer YearPer Hour
Total PayINR97,000 to INR8,92,000

How Much Does a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Make in South Africa?

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Salary IndiaPer YearPer Hour
BonusUp to R70,710Up to R34.00
Total PayR164,630 to R520,220

2. Experience

In the United States, the mean salary of $66,000 for entry-level pharmaceutical sales representatives jumps to $86,000 for those with five to ten years of experience. At the ten to 20-year experience level, the mean climbs to $99,000, with the mean beyond 20 years resting at $105,000.

PayScale reports a mean of C$60,000 for representatives in Canada with under five years in the field. Mean pay increases to C$77,000 for those with five to ten years, then inches to C$78,000 at the ten to 20-year experience level. Beyond 20 years of experience, pharmaceutical sales representatives in Canada can expect a mean of C$89,000.

According to the National Careers Service, pay for medical sales representatives, whose duties include sales of pharmaceuticals, ranges from £19,000 to £31,000 for “starters.” Those at the “experienced” level make from £31,000 to £40,000 and “Highly Experienced” ones can earn from £40,000 to £60,000.

For Australia, the entry-level pharmaceutical representatives earn on a mean basis AU$71,000. The mean at the five to ten-year stage rises to AU$84,000 and peaks at AU$91,000 for those with ten to 20 years. The mean pay slides to AU$75,000 for pharmaceutical sales representatives upon achieving more than 20 years of experience.

In South Africa, the mean for entry-level pharmaceutical sales representatives registers at R272,000. Upon accumulating five to ten years experience, these professionals can expect a mean of R347,000. The mean increases to R374,000 for those between ten and 20 years on the job. With more than 20 years experience, the average becomes R390,000.

3. Industry

The pharmaceutical sales field features a mix of representatives employed by the manufacturer (inside representatives) and outside sales representatives. In the latter category, sales representatives may operate their own agencies. According to Job Bank Canada, nearly 17 percent of “Technical sales specialists – wholesale trade” resided in the self-employed category.

Pharmaceutical field sales representatives in the United States have a median pay of $71,981 per year, while outside sales representatives, who work in firms representing pharmaceutical makers, have a median annual salary of $66,000.

Self-employed representatives earn based upon commissions. Those employed by manufacturers or by agencies typically receive a mix of commissions, base pay and profit-sharing. In the United States, pharmaceutical representatives collect up to $12,108 in profit-sharing benefits, while commissions reach as high as $36,030. For Canadian pharmaceutical sales representatives, commissions average C$9,826. Reported commissions earned by those in Australia run from AU$1,750 to AU$20,226.

The mean commissions stand at NZD$2,500 for representatives based in New Zealand. Commissions run in South Africa between R9,759 and R119,104. Those who participate in profit sharing in the country earn up to an additional R78,297.

Schedule & Working Hours

While pharmaceutical sales representatives overwhelmingly work full-time, schedules often vary. Travel constitutes a significant part of the job description and overnight stays may prove frequent. Representatives must visit physicians’ offices, clinics, hospitals and pharmacy retailers or distributors. Generally, these sales representatives may have fairly broad sales territories. Trade shows, conferences and company-required training sessions for orientation into new products contributes to the travel and time away from home offices.

Bonuses & Benefits

According to PayScale, 94 percent of pharmaceutical sales representatives in the United States have medical coverage from their employers. Dental care is a benefit for 86 percent, while 76 percent enjoy vision benefits.

For Canada, the coverage rates are 84 percent for medical, 73 percent for dental and 59 percent for vision, says PayScale. Only 15 percent of representatives in Australia report having medical care as a job benefit, with dental and vision care going to four percent of these professionals.

Nearly 63 percent of New Zealand’s pharmaceutical sales representatives receive medical benefits. For dental and vision, the coverage rates are 38 percent and 12 percent respectively.

In South Africa, representatives enjoy medical benefits at the tune of 68 percent. One in ten of these workers have dental care, with vision benefits enjoyed by nine percent.

Career Outlook

The incidents of disease and need for treatments will mean greater development and production of pharmaceuticals, requiring representatives to market them to health providers such as physicians and hospitals.

According to, global sales of drugs could reach $1 trillion by 2020. Nearly 50 percent of those sales will come from specialty and biologic offerings, says The Food and Drug Law Institute reports the pharmaceutical industry in India ranked third worldwide in volume and tenth in value. By 2020, the industry in India could reach the top six globally in size.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a six percent rise in employment of “Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific products” through 2026. In 2016, the field had an estimated 343,600 occupants. In the independent sales representative field, job growth could 14 percent by 2026, as companies seeks to outsource sales functions in order to reduce expenses.

Canada’s “Technical sales specialists – wholesale trade” occupation should have 33,500 openings and 32,100 seekers by 2024.

A Hayes company report covering October to December 2017 says that Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory exhibit strong demand for pharmacy sales representatives. Rural areas may experience a scarcity of qualified candidates.


Earnings for pharmaceutical sales representatives come via base pay, commissions, bonuses and profit sharing in some cases. With more sales and experience can come higher pay. Due to the demand for treatments and the knowledge and technology that develops the treatments, pharmaceutical sales representatives can find ample opportunities.

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