Pharmaceuticals

Helping keep the nation clean, healthy – and beautiful.

Careers information

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What does it involve?

The 100 companies in this sector manufacture and distribute a wide range of products. These include:

  • nutraceuticals (cosmetics, toiletries and health-related products like vitamins)
  • veterinary products
  • bio-technical products (e.g. antibiotics).

Most companies in the pharmaceutical and allied products sector are located in the main centres, especially Auckland. The exception is New Zealand Pharmaceuticals, a large company based in Palmerston North.

Only small quantities of pharmaceutical products are manufactured locally. Pharmac’s tight regulations on the availability of restricted drugs mean that bigger global companies find it more cost-effective to import their products from their offshore manufacturing plants than to make them in New Zealand. As a result, most pharmaceutical products in New Zealand are imported under licence, tested locally for quality, then repackaged and distributed. 

Local companies that manufacture pharmaceuticals and the range of allied products described above must meet strict regulations. These companies must also follow the strict processes set out in the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) quality management system.

A career in the pharmaceutical and allied products industry involves the skills needed right across the manufacturing sector. A strong knowledge of chemistry, food technology, quality assurance, and hygiene is valuable too.

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How could I get into the industry

You can join from school, with NCEA passes, or move into the industry from another manufacturing industry.

What kind of jobs could I do?

Jobs include:

  • Production Operators
  • Production Technicians.

Plus there are opportunities to work in the types of roles that are common to all manufacturing processes (e.g. quality control, production management).

How much could I earn?

  • Newly Qualified

    $30k- $50k