25 May 2012, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Under pressure to remain profitable in the face of patent expiries, big pharma companies went for job-cuts, big time in 2011. According to data from Global Pharma and Biotech M&A Report-2012 by IMAP, drug giants such as Merck, Pfizer, Novartis, Abbott, AstraZeneca, Teva, Sanofi, Eisai and Bayer have together axed around 25,000 jobs, in 2011.
The report said Merck had a major program of reducing the manpower pool size in 2011 following the cost synergies after Schering Plough merger in 2009. The drug giant cut 13,000 jobs and is looking at saving up to $1.5 billion with the expiry of Singulair.
Similarly, reducing cost in all possible ways with the expiry of blockbuster drug Lipitor, Pfizer laid-off 4,220 employees in 2011. The company has recently, further reduced the manpower size at Estrogen facility in US. It is reported that by 2013, Pfizer is looking at reducing its manpower by 40 percent.
Adopting a smart strategy to reduce cost, Novartis is investing heavily in facilities in Asia and is contracting R&D and manufacturing faculties in US and Europe. In 2011, the company laid off 2,000 employees.
Taking similar steps, Abbott has reduced 1,900 employees with the failure of its pipeline product. To counter upcoming patent losses, shrunken drug pipeline and generics price pressure AstraZeneca has also has cut down its sales and marketing team in the US, handing over pink slips to 1,550 employees.
Teva, Sanofi, Eisai and Bayer are other big names in the drug industry that resorted to reducing headcount by 500 to 1,000 in 2011.
Source: Global Pharma and Biotech M&A Report-2012, IMAP