Pharmaceutical companies plan to increase sales headcounts by an average 22 percent in 2004, according to a new study by research firm Cutting Edge Information.

More than 10 percent of pharmaceutical revenues goes to sales budgets. At the industry’s top end, several sales force budgets will surpass $1.5 billion in 2004.

The 159-page report, called “Pharmaceutical Sales Management: Conquering the New Marketplace,” is available at and contains more than 250 sales metrics.

The research contains sales budgets, staffing breakdowns, strategies and tactics from 17 top pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, Merck, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, Novartis, and Aventis.

“A lot of executives know that expansion can’t go on forever, but the end isn’t in sight yet,” said Eric Bolesh, Cutting Edge analyst. “The sales reps and operational dollars will keep adding up until they stop delivering a return.”

The industry’s top companies expand on sales structures that average seven primary care divisions and five specialty sales groups. Primary care forces typically include approximately 600 reps, and specialty groups average 150 reps.

Other recent reports from Cutting Edge include:

  • Call Center Agents Come at a Cost: $15,000 per New Rep

  • Follow What Leader? Corporate America Fails to Plan for the Future

  • 60% of Pharmaceutical Co-Promotions Fail

  • Pharmaceutical Outsourcing: Report Shows Industry Expenditure Tops $30 Billion

  • New Drug Approvals on the Rise; R&D and Marketing Unite in Early Development
  • Cutting Edge: