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Female sales reps: Daiichi Sankyo discriminates

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 11, 2013 at 5:35 pm •  Published: February 11, 2013

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Six current and former female sales representatives are accusing drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo of gender discrimination in a $100 million class action lawsuit.

The lawsuit states the women are trying to end employment discrimination for themselves and several hundred other female sales reps who currently work for or have worked for the U.S. arm of Daiichi Sankyo Co. Ltd. The Japanese pharmaceutical company makes cholesterol and blood pressure drugs.

The suit alleges that the company pays female sales staff less than men for the same work, promotes women more slowly and treats women who are pregnant or have young children worse than other employees.

A spokeswoman for Daiichi Sankyo Inc., the U.S. subsidiary, said in a statement that it follows all laws regarding equal opportunity and nondiscrimination. She said the company is reviewing the lawsuit but doesn't comment on pending litigation. Daiichi Sankyo Inc., based in Parsippany, N.J., has about 3,000 employees in the U.S.

Sanford Heisler, a law firm specializing in employment discrimination and whistleblower cases, filed the lawsuit Monday in federal court in San Francisco. The complaint demands a jury trial.

"Daiichi Sankyo reaps multibillion dollar profits by relying upon a predominantly female sales force" in the U.S., the complaint states.

"Daiichi treats them largely as props in a sales and marketing strategy. Like dinners, sports outings, and speaking fees, female sales reps are considered one of many variations on the inducements that the pharmaceutical company dangles to sway doctors to its brand. Daiichi asks its female sales reps to wine and dine male doctors; offer friendships and gifts to foster 'quid pro quo' relationships; and devote unbounded attention to obtain their allegiance to Daiichi's drugs," the complaint adds.

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