Ludhiana: Medical representatives working in Punjab have staged a protest rally against undue sales pressure laid on them in the state by employers. PMRA ( Punjab Medical Representatives Association) organized a rally demonstrating their strong disapproval over causing undue pressure addressing fury among medical representatives. Their slogan went by “We demand zero tolerance on sales pressure.”
The protest rally broke citing the case of Ashish Awasthi, who was a medical representative in Abbott India Ltd, a US-based pharmaceutical company, at Indore (MP), committed suicide past burdened with undue sales pressure.
The protesters told TOI, that the pressure to achieve unrealistic and inflated sales targets led to mental torture of Ashish Awasthi, leading to his death. They described the incident as murder and not suicide.
An effigy of the company “Abott India Ltd” was also burned during the protest rally by the demonstrators, causing traffic hue and cry at Bharat Nagar Chowk. The protesters told the newspaper that such treatment of over burdening with undue sales targets is being put on employees across the country, which is intolerant. “They said the pressure to achieve unrealistic and inflated sales targets led to mental torture of Ashish Awasthi, leading to his death. They described the incident as murder and not suicide”.
Union secretary Ashish Molri, MRA, said pressurizing sales teams is a common practice in the pharma industry. According to him, this is a part of the policy followed by management unions, Organization of Pharmaceutical producer of India (OPPI) and Indian Drug Manufactures Association (IDMA). He said pharma firms know that a sales promotion employee cannot legally be held responsible for sales. Still, he said, they indulge in arm-twisting and compelling medical representatives to achieve sales targets. He said member companies of OPPI and IDMA adopt wrongful methods of achieving sales targets, including unethical trade and marketing sales policies.
Protesters also raised the issue of low wages saying that minimum wages applicable to medical representatives are being denied to them and they are being forced to work 14 to 16 hours a day without overtime payment of wages.
Union president Sandeep Sohi asked for a notification of eight-hour work (from 9am to 5pm) by the Punjab State government in order to end exploitation of medical representatives by the industry. Strict implementation of labor laws and penalty is also demanded by him for the violation of laws if any.