AstraZeneca cuts jobs, closes factories

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AstraZeneca (AZ) announced plans to cut an additional 1,400 jobs – on top of the previously announced 7,600 – as the company deals with impending generic competition.

In addition to the job cuts, AZ will close plants in Spain, Belgium and Sweden by 2013, shifting investments to Asia, and specifically China, according to an Associated Press report.

David Smith, executive vice president of operations, told the AP that the company's decision to invest in Asia, and particularly AZ's Wuxi plant in China, would “move the supply process closer to the customer, responding to their requirements and improving the security of the product wherever it is bought.” AZ plans to turn the Wuxi plant into a packaging center for the entire Asia Pacific region, according to the AP report.

In a separate development, AZ was able to stave off generic competition, at least temporarily, on its asthma treatment Pulmicort Respules. Teva's generic version of the drug was blocked by a court order until a patent hearing scheduled for November 25. The court order also halted distribution of Par Pharmaceutical's generic Pulmicort, AZ's authorized generic partner for the product.

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