Pharmaceutical Representative License

Beginning July 1, 2017, pharmaceutical representatives who market or promote pharmaceuticals within the City of Chicago for more than fifteen (15) calendar days per year are required to obtain a license, under an ordinance (see page 95) passed by City Council in the fall of 2016. The license application fee is $750 per individual for a one-year licensing term and may be renewed annually.  Pharmaceutical representatives must complete an online education session at the time of initial application and then complete at least five hours per year of approved continuing education thereafter.  When requested by the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, pharmaceutical representatives also must disclose information related to the marketing or promotion of the pharmaceuticals, pharmacological classes, or categories of pharmaceuticals listed on the Chicago Department of Public Health website.

Apply for an initial pharmaceutical representative license (beginning July 1, 2017)

A pharmaceutical representative who does business with health care professionals while both are within the City must acquire a license from the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection prior to doing business in the City on 15 or more days in a calendar year.

Pharmaceutical representatives should click here to begin the licensing process. For additional information, click here:

Apply for a renewal pharmaceutical representative license (beginning July 1, 2018)

Pharmaceutical representative licenses are valid for 1 year.  July 1, 2018, is the earliest date for a renewal license. Return here in spring 2018 for information to begin the renewal process.

Learn about approved pharmaceutical representative continuing education

For pharmaceutical representatives:  To qualify for license renewal, you must complete five hours of approved continuing education annually, by an institution or organization approved by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). 

Allowed course content includes:

  • General medical and pharmaceutical terminology and abbreviations
  • Food and Drug Administration laws and regulations pertaining to drug marketing, labeling, and clinical trials
  • Comparative cost effectiveness of pharmacological treatments
  • Therapeutic drug classes and categories
  • Professional ethics
  • Properties and actions of drugs and drug delivery mechanisms
  • Etiologies, characteristics and therapeutics of disease states
  • Pharmacology
  • Anatomical and physiological effect of pharmaceuticals
  • Comparative effectiveness of pharmacological treatments
  • How to read and analyze peer-reviewed literature on pharmacological treatments
  • Safe prescribing practices to prevent abuse

Approved courses: 2018 CE credit courses

  • Visit 
  • Review the list of approved courses; listed in sections by Education Provider 
  • Note: Each Education Provider has an email listed for any problems or questions with specific courses
  • Selectyour course(s) and the follow the course link to access selected course(s) with cost and delivery details (as applicable)
  • Take the course(s). 
  • Make sure you obtain your certificate of completion for each course taken (contact the provider immediately with problems)
  • Keep this certificatein your records (for at least 5 years) in the event that your education record is audited by the Pharma Rep Education team, in the future


Auditing: You will not have to submit the certificates as part of the license renewal process, but you will need to retain them.  Upon renewing the license, applicants will affirm that 5 hours of approved continuing education have been completed in the preceding year. Each year, CDPH will audit a subset of renewal applications to confirm that applicants have completed this continuing education requirement.

Upon request, applicants must provide information on courses completed, including

  • The title and date of the course (s)
  • Number of credit hours completed
  • Name of the education provider (s)
  • Signed certificate (s) of completion
 CDPH may confirm this education with the continuing education provider.


For educational providers:

If you are interested in providing continuing education that can be used toward the Pharmaceutical Representative license requirement, you must apply to CDPH during our application cycle. The application cycle for 2018 courses closed on January 31, 2018 and will open again on January 1, 2019. Once it reopens, eligible organizations will be able to follow the link that will be offered on this page. Once submitted, applicants will receive a confirmation email when the application is successfully transmitted and a final notification of the status of the application once it has been reviewed.

Institutions or organizations seeking to provide continuing education courses in the subjects referenced above can apply to be an authorized professional education provider. To qualify for approval, an authorized professional education provider shall be:

  1. a nationally or locally accredited program provider;
  2. a governmental unit;
  3. a health care facility;
  4. an institution of higher learning recognized by an accrediting body approved by the Secretary of the United States Department of Education; or
  5. an association of at least three pharmaceutical companies (which shall not be subsidiaries or affiliations of the same company or parent company). A pharmaceutical company that employs or in any way provides compensation to any pharmaceutical representative shall not be an approved professional education provider. However, a pharmaceutical company or other institution, including an association of pharmaceutical companies, may sponsor one or more continuing education courses presented by authorized professional education providers.

CDPH reserves the right to reject an application if it determines that the applicant has a conflict of interest, lacks sufficient expertise, or is otherwise unfit to provide quality education. Approved professional education providers must submit course titles, course descriptions, and course curricula to CDPH through the process published on this site.



NOTICE: Click here for the summary of the Pharma Representative Needs Assessment Survey.

Learn about disclosure requirements (begin recording activity October 2017; no reporting required before January 2018)

Upon request of the Commissioner of Public Health, a pharmaceutical representative shall compile and submit information related to marketing and promotional activities for specific pharmaceuticals, pharmacologic classes, or categories of pharmaceuticals.  Only representatives who market or promote the listed pharmaceuticals are obliged to disclose information.

Pharmaceutical representatives do not need to begin to collect this information until October 15, 2017. The earliest date that reporting may be required is January 1, 2018.

Disclosure list

Beginning October 15, 2017: "any Schedule II medications, as defined by the Title 21 United States Code Controlled Substance Act."


Click here for the disclosure log spreadsheet to track your interactions with health care professionals.

Read the ordinance and rules

Ordinance (See Page 95)


Pharmaceutical representatives who violate the Ordinance or Rules may face

–  suspension or revocation of the license
–  inclusion in a public list of pharmaceutical representatives whose licenses have been revoked
–  a fine of no less than $1,000 and no more than $3,000 per day of violation

Review Ethical Standards

  1. A pharmaceutical representative shall not engage in any illegal, fraudulent, or other deceptive marketing of a pharmaceutical product, including the knowing concealment, suppression, omission, misleading representation, or misstatement of any material fact.
  2. A pharmaceutical representative shall not use a title or designation that could reasonably lead a licensed health professional, or an employee or representative of a licensed health professional, to believe that the pharmaceutical representative is licensed to practice medicine, nursing, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, or any other similar health occupation, unless the pharmaceutical representative holds an active license to practice that health occupation.
  3. A pharmaceutical representative shall not attend patient examinations without the express, written consent of the patient. The representatives also shall not enter an area meant primarily for healthcare providers and patients, other than a designated waiting area, unless invited in by a health care provider working on site.
  4. A pharmaceutical representative shall comply with the applicable policies and procedures of the health care facilities and health care professionals’ offices he or she visits.
  5. A pharmaceutical representative shall not harass, intimidate, or coerce a licensed health professional, or an employee or representative of a licensed health professional, through any form of communication.
  6. A pharmaceutical representative shall cease making sales calls to a health care professional, or an employee or representative of a health care professional, if the health care professional requests it in writing or verbally to the pharmaceutical representative or the representative’s employer.
  7. A pharmaceutical representative shall not make any misleading statements to gain access to a health care professional.
  8. A pharmaceutical representative shall provide health care professionals with information that is truthful, accurate, and non-misleading, compliant with Food and Drug Administration laws and regulations.

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