Image used for representative purposes. | Photo credit: Reuters
A series of layoffs in the pharmaceutical sales sector continues, with the latest at multinational drugmaker AstraZeneca (AZ) Pharma India Limited, which has laid off all 103 of its employees in the company’s “primary care” division. While 52 of these sales employees accepted the voluntary retirement plan (VRS) offer presented by the major pharmaceutical company, another 51 had given up.
AZ India’s primary care division was responsible for sales of two drugs: Betaloc, a beta-blocker drug; and Imdur, which is prescribed for angina pain. According to the sources, the company is merging the marketing activities for these drug category portfolios with other divisions.
“AZ India has illegally terminated the services of even those employees who did not accept VRS. Some of these employees are in their thirties and forties. Why would they want to apply for voluntary retirement? asked one of the employees who has rejected the company’s offer.
The official reporting portals of 51 employees were blocked and the company transferred the severance pay along with other dues directly to the bank accounts of these employees, said another employee laid off by AZ India.
On Wednesday, representatives of several pharmaceutical companies including AZ India, Albert David Limited, Stadmed Private Limited, Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Limited and Sanofi Pasteur India Private Limited, among others, protested outside AZ India’s sales depot in south-east Delhi. .
Following the dismissals, the Federation of Medical and Sales Representatives Associations of India (FMRAI) filed a complaint with the Bangalore Labor Commissioner. “AZ India management attended the conciliation meeting on February 28 at the deputy labor commissioner’s office…and assured us that we would continue the marketing activities of the primary care division…despite being told shocked and shocked to note that management has issued termination letters on March 6 to all sales promotion employees…with vague and untenable reasons that their services will cease after closing hours on March 10,” the post wrote. FMRAI Secretary General Santanu Chatterjee in a letter to AZ India HR Director Amanpreet. Kaur Ahuja.
Most of the employees who have lost their jobs belong to medical representative unions and have alleged that their abrupt dismissal violates labor laws and amounts to unfair labor practices. Mr Chatterjee said that under Section 33 (1)(a) and (b) of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947, no employer may change the conditions of service without the express permission of the conciliation (labor) officer concerned. during the processing of the procedure.
Meanwhile, AZ India has maintained that it has discontinued the services of some of its sales promotion employees as a result of the company’s “evolving strategic priorities”.
The major pharmaceutical has recorded healthy growth with a 24% increase in revenue from operations from ₹205.85 crore in Q3 FY22 to ₹257 crore in Q3 FY23 The net profit during the same time jumped from ₹11.41 crore to ₹29.30 crore.
The wave of redundancies continues after national companies such as Zydus Lifesciences Limited, TTK Healthcare Limited and Indoco Remedies Limited laid off their employees. Among multinationals, Novartis Limited, Sanofi India Limited and Pfizer Limited have also followed suit.