It is a corporate market where every company deems it right to employ any tactic to boost its sales
A medical representative of Swedish pharmaceutical company Shahid Nazir (not real name) is in this field for the last 12 years. His ‘promotion is due’ for Area Manager, but the time isn’t ripe yet because he has to meet ‘certain criterion’ prior to that. He says:-
"Apart from our usual morning meetings, we meet on monthly basis to evaluate our progress. Our targets are predetermined, which are mostly inflated ones, and we have to actualise those set goals without failing. If it happens so, we have to face our bosses, both from within and without the country.
"In order to meet our targets, we employ all sorts of tactics. Obviously, the sales are solely dependent on the parchi (prescription) of doctors. To get an ‘extra favour’, we look for potential physicians and surgeons in the market, who can boost our sales. Most of them are ready to join the already ever-inflating clan of ‘special doctors’, but few decline our favours. Initially, we check the prospective physicians for 2-3 months and examine whether they are the potential parchi physicians or not. If ‘our management’ finds the targeted physicians ‘competent enough’, we welcome them on board.
"We always try to get hold of a senior person because if he starts prescribing our medicine, then it is a trickle down effect and other physicians start prescribing it automatically. Remember! Most of the senior doctors are friendly to multinationals as compared to the local brands. So we always stand a better chance to make headway.
"Quite a large number of doctors have been given brand new cars after they met our targets. The company is paying the installments, and if the doctors do not materialise the target, the company would stop paying the required money. Moreover, we give costly gifts, free medicines apart from samples, home appliances (Air Conditioners for summers top the list), send them to foreign trips and arrange for seminars. Lesser potential doctors are sent to Northern Areas. If our targets are met, we are a happy lot."