Foreign pharmas in Korea cut field workers amid digital shift

2023.01.17 13:48:02 | 2023.01.17 13:52:38

Sanofi-Aventis Korea Co. started an early retirement program for employees in the sales department of General Medicine [Photo by AP]이미지 확대

Sanofi-Aventis Korea Co. started an early retirement program for employees in the sales department of General Medicine [Photo by AP]



Multinational pharmaceutical companies operating in Korea are cutting down on payrolls mostly in front-line field jobs partly because of a response to market dynamics and digital transformation.

According to sources on Monday, Sanofi-Aventis Korea Co. started an early retirement program for employees in the sales department of General Medicine at the end of last year and 25 left the company. The division deals with prescription medicines for chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

The number staff that left under the latest early retirement program is about 25 at GlaxoSmithKline Korea Co., 20 at Bayer Korea Ltd., 13 at BMS Pharmaceutical Korea Limited, and 10 at Novartis Korea Limited.

Foreign pharmaceutical companies have an average of around 400 employees in Korea, and sales representatives account for 50 to 70 percent of them. Based on this estimate, 10 to 20 percent left last year.

The downsizing is due in part to digital transformation in many pharma companies amid the pandemic that restricted interactions between physicians and sales officials.

Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Korea Ltd., which posted nearly 2 trillion won ($1.61 billion) a year in sales with its Covid-19 vaccine and treatment, also started reducing its workforce. Sources said some 40 sales staffers who worked at the company for more than 15 years left the company last year.

By Shim Hee-jin and Minu Kim

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