625 Jobs Cut at Astrazeneca

625 Jobs Cut at Astrazeneca

December 5th, 2012 // 6:51 pm @

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The bleeding continues. AstraZeneca is eliminating up to 625 jobs from its operations in Germany in response to difficulties replenishing its product pipeline and pricing cuts imposed by the government, according to a statement on its web site.

The cuts are being made due to “delays in the research and development of new drugs as well as to massive state intervention in the pricing of innovative medicines,” the drug maker says (here is a translated statement).

In the scheme of things, 625 positions is not a huge number of job cuts, given the thousands that have been shed by the pharmaceutical industry, including AstraZeneca. Earlier this year, for instance, the drugmaker announced plans to slash 7,300 jobs (see here). It is not clear if the job cuts in Germany are part of this previously announced plan. We asked a spokeperson for comment and will update you accordingly.

[UPDATE: We talked to an AstraZeneca spokesman who told us that the announcement is not related to the shedding of 7,300 that were announced earlier this year. Regarding pricing, he says, “We have a mandatory rebate here on all prescription drugs of 16 percent and it’s only in Germany.” Another spokesman has told us that the job cuts have hit salesforce and commercial teams.]

As we wrote previously, those cuts are designed to save $1.6 billion annually by the end of 2014 and underscore the fallout expected from patent expirations on some of its biggest sellers, notably the Crestor cholesterol pill, the Nexium acid reflux med and the Seroquel antipsychotic.

The drugmaker warned that profits will fall as much as 18 percent this year, but will buyback $4.5 billion in stock to appease investors. The layoffs, which are in addition to 21,600 positions already eliminated since 2007, were announced shortly before David Brennan existed as ceo under pressure. He was replaced by Pascal Soriot from Roche (see this).


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