Deep cuts at AstraZeneca, Sepracor
About half of the 15,000 AstraZeneca positions eliminated will come from sales, general and administrative functions, the company said, with another 41% coming from global supply chain operations and another 10% from R&D. All but 2,300 of those positions slated for elimination has been determined.
In November, AstraZeneca announced 1,400 job cuts as part of a realignment of its global manufacturing and supply chain operations. Those cuts were in addition to the 7,600 eliminations the company announced following its acquisition of MedImmune in 2007 – 1,800 of which came from a realignment of European sales forces. The company anticipates $2.5 billion in annual benefits from the reductions at a cost of $2.9 billion.
AstraZeneca reported fourth-quarter sales up 4%, but the gains were a wash, thanks to the negative impact of exchange rate movements. Full-year sales were up 3% worldwide. Sales in the US were up 3% for the fourth quarter and just 1% for the full year, as the impact of generic competition for Toprol-XL sank in.
Meanwhile, Sepracor announced that it would cut about 530 jobs, or 20% of its workforce, including 180 corporate positions and about 350 field-based positions, along with 410 contract sales reps. After restructuring, the company's sales force will total roughly 1,325 reps. The sales force cuts come with the roll out of a new commercial model featuring “geographically tailored field teams that have a regional profitability focus and sole territory product ownership,” and are expected to produce a reduction in operating expenses of about $210 million.
Also, Abbott is eliminating about 200 jobs – mostly sales and sales management, along with some marketing posts – after failing to gain approval for its 12-hour Vicodin CR formulation.
On Monday, Pfizer said it would cut between 18,000 and 19,000 jobs as part of its $68 billion acquisition of Wyeth.