Helping keep the nation clean, healthy – and beautiful.

Careers information

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.

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 could I get into the industry?

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

How much could I earn?

Icn Money

Newly Qualified

$30k - $50k

Industry facts

  • 100 local companies
  • 1,500 employees

How we support your industry

We partner with industry associations and members of your industry to help recruit and build talented employees. This support includes promoting careers in your industry, identifying potential learners, and encouraging work placements.

We also ensure your industry’s qualifications continue to meet needs, support industry events like conferences and regularly celebrate your learners’ success.

National qualifications

These qualifications are designed for people moving into or already employed in the industries that make pharmaceutical and related products (e.g. cosmetics, vitamins, veterinary products and medical devices like small surgical tools).

The sectors which produce and distribute medicines in the community and hospital pharmacies are covered by the Pharmacy ITO:

This qualification is designed for people moving into or already employed in these industries. Graduates of this qualification will be able to work under supervision in a range of roles associated with pharmaceutical and allied products manufacturing. These roles include dispensing, manufacturing, packing, quality control and warehousing.

Click here for the NZQA qualification overview.

This qualification is designed for people already employed in these industries. Graduates of this qualification will be able to specialise in roles such as dispensing, manufacturing, packing, quality control, warehousing and engineering.

Click here for the NZQA qualification overview.

This course gives participants an introduction to GMP and its practical application. It will provide an overview of the principles and terminology used in the New Zealand Code of GMP. Participants will also learn how to develop effective documentation and training programmes. The programme includes an opportunity for a site tour of a leading New Zealand pharmaceuticals manufacturing plant

This course follows on from GMP01 Principles of GMP. It helps participants understand what an effective training system involves, develop GMP documentation and training systems, and use policies, procedures and work practices effectively to ensure GMP compliance in a manufacturing or packing plant.