AbbVie Fires Hundreds

AbbVie Fires Hundreds

April 16th, 2013 // 2:56 pm @

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Now that AbbVie faces growing generic competition for a pair of top-selling heart meds, the drugmaker is the latest to find hundreds of sales reps expendable. A few hundred people wjp who toil in the cardiocare group are going the way of Willy Loman, according to Bloomberg News, which confirmed chatter yesterday on the CafePharma site, where reps love to dish.

The move comes after the TriCor cholesterol drug, which generated nearly $1.4 billion in sales last year, lost patent protection and generics arrived last fall. And Niaspan, which notched $976 million in sales last year, faces generic competition later this year.

Of course, disposing of sales reps is an ongoing feature of the so-called patent cliff that has forced every large drugmaker to cut back expenses, given laboratory failures and, in some cases, regulatory disappointments that failed to compensate for patent expirations on big-selling medicines. In recent weeks, for instance, Eli Lilly began eliminating hundreds of reps, roughly 30 percent of its companywide sales force (see here).

Abbott Laboratories (ABT), which spun off AbbVie (ABBV) recently, tried very hard to forestall this day of reckoning. Three years ago, the drugmaker paid $22.5 million to settle charges brought by several states that accused Abbott of conspiring to block TriCor generics from becoming available by making minor changes in formulation. Lawsuits were previously filed by a group of generic drugmakers, retailers and wholesalers, which Abbott settled for $184 million in November 2008.

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