Is Big Pharma taking advantage of its sales reps?

From the St. Petersburg Times:

Susan Schaefer LaRose quit her sales job in May after 18 years with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co., frustrated by long work weeks that frequently encroached on weekends and vacations. And then she sued. Her lawsuit, part of a series of class-action claims filed last month against nine major drug companies, seeks tens of millions of dollars in back pay for thousands of drug company salespeople across the country.

“I was told when I started with Eli Lilly that I was exempt from overtime,” said Schaefer LaRose, a 50-year-old mother of two from Chittenango, N.Y., about 17 miles east of Syracuse. “I figured they were the large employer, and I never thought to question it.”

The lawsuits, filed in New York, California, New Jersey and Connecticut, are the latest in a series of mass tort claims in recent years seeking overtime pay from U.S. businesses. IBM Corp. last month agreed to pay $65-million to 32,000 technology workers who claimed their jobs were wrongly classified as overtime-exempt. The pharmaceutical company lawsuits seek overtime wages dating back two to six years, under federal and state statutes of limitations. Other companies affected are Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., AstraZeneca PLC, Pfizer Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Amgen Inc., Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Bayer AG.

PharmaGossip comments on Forbes’ coverage of the story:

Forbes now continues with the story about drug reps suing for overtime pay.

Insider’s view: this will run and run. Especially now that the industry is sacking its once – “sacred cows”.

Remember, these people have company sales and marketing documents and have been trained in the art of influencing!

I guess forcing drug reps to work overtime and then putting their heads on the chopping blocks at the first sign of financial trouble may be coming back to haunt Big Pharma.

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Comments (1)

The overtime claim is ridiculous and unlikely. The alteration of big pharma’s reps’ character and honesty is another isssue, however, which is mental anguish vs. back pay.

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