AstraZeneca To Cut 400 Jobs In The US

AstraZeneca To Cut 400 Jobs In The US

October 7th, 2011 // 1:43 pm @

And still more jobs are being shed. With patent expirations looming for some of its biggest sellers, AstraZeneca is shrinking its US commercial business and will eliminate about 400 jobs at its Wilmington, Delaware, headquarters. Most of the cuts, therefore, will come from various administrative and support departments, as well as an unspecified number of field jobs will also get slashed (but not sales).

About 70 of the estimated 400 jobs to be eliminated will actually involve existing vacancies. As part of the process, employees will be able to “self identify” if they wish to pursue a package. This is another way of saying employees can volunteer to take a package. Such language is creeping into pharmaspeak these days. Last month, Merck US Market president Mark Timney used the phrase “hand raise” to describe the same thing (see here).

The move comes as AstraZeneca braces itself for looming patent expirations on some of its biggest sellers, notably the Crestor cholesterol pill, the Nexium acid reflux med and the Seroquel antipsychotic. The layoffs will bring the industry tally closer to the 20,000 mark for the year, based on recent data compiled by the Challenger, Gray & Christmas outplacement consulting firm (see here).

“This will be very difficult for our entire organization, particularly the people who are directly impacted,” Rich Fante, President, AstraZeneca US & ceo, North America, says in a statement. “However, these changes are necessary to build a leaner, more efficient organization that will enable the company to continue delivering against our mission of patient health and sustaining a strong business for years to come.”

The drugmaker currently employes about 61,000 people worldwise, including 14,000 in North America. Specific numbers for the US were not available.

Source: Pharmalot

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