Local wholesalers of pharmaceutical products are experiencing distress at the end of the year amid drug companies’ forceful sales, industry sources said Wednesday.
The pharmaceutical companies are continuing their old practice, dubbed “oshiuri” in Japanese, which refers to high-pressure sales, to meet their annual sales target at the end of the year, the sources said.
Some multinational drugmakers, in particular, was so despotic in pushing sales but wholesalers had to bite the bullet and backed down on their demands, they said.
“A leading multinational pharmaceutical firm pressured us to purchase their year-end drugs more than we could buy but they wanted us to pay for all of them in a short time. But when we try to take back their products in a new year, it takes months,” an official at a wholesaler said.
The wholesaler was suffering a financial burden as well. The official said his company had to buy multi-billion won worth drugs from the drug giant forcefully, but the payment was delayed for more than two months.
Another multinational drugmaker coerced its wholesaler to purchase its products on a 5 percent profit margin, making it difficult for the wholesaler to do business.
However, wholesalers cannot help but accept drugmakers’ sales pressure to keep their business relationship with them.
Multinational drug companies do not sell their products to all of the wholesalers. They select a few of them to distribute their drugs and make them a base for distribution.
If a wholesaler fails to maintain the business relations with a multinational drugmaker, it will directly suffer a decline in sales. As multinational drug giants offer different profit margins to various wholesalers, wholesalers have to accept their sales pressure.
“Multinational drugmakers are bossing around wholesalers. If they push sales, no wholesaler will be able to refuse,” another wholesaler’s official said. “If you refuse, you might lose the status of the ‘base wholesaler.’ So, most of the wholesalers accept their demands.”
Another wholesaler official complained they should complete the payment for a forced purchase within a month or two. “It is still fortunate that credits are dwindling. The year-end sales push also should have limits,” the official said.
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