According to their union, 150,000 pharmaceutical representatives went on strike today to protest against pharmaceutical corruption and mis-selling by their employers. The reps say that they are being unfairly penalised for the sins of some in the industry; “Recently, medical practitioners and medical representatives have become target of concerted attacks of central government, state governments, vested interests and a section of corporate media. There is a move to shift the burden of responsibility of huge and wide-spread pharma corporate corruption on them,” the Union says. The reps want a statutory code to govern pharma marketing activities across India. This is, of course, more complicated than it looks and some companies are more sympathetic to the idea than they might want to seem in public.
There is a funny and rather bemused commentary from the US pharma website, Fierce Pharma. They seem quite unable to cope with the idea of a radical reps’ union — “so far, the take-to-the-streets mentality hasn’t spread into U.S. pharma ranks” they note with apparent irony.