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Novartis announced a reorganization of its US business into units focusing on primary care, MS, respiratory disease and neuroscience, along with a 20% reduction in its US headquarters staff. With Diovan going off-patent in 2012, it no longer makes sense for the company to focus its sales force on primary care physicians, CEO Joe Jimenez (left) said. He told The Wall Street Journal that the company would beef up its sales force in China using its own employees, bucking the trend towards outsourcing sales and research staff in China.  

Avanir Pharmaceuticals named Michael McFadden VP US sales and managed markets. McFadden, who joins from Amylin, will be responsible for staffing, training and managing the planned Zenvia specialty sales force. Avanir hopes to launch Zenvia for pseudobulbar affect, a neurological disease which causes uncontrollable laughing or crying, next year.

Specialty and hospital sales forces are no longer contracting, according to a Cutting Edge Information survey which found a leveling off of headcount and budget over the past two years. Daily calls by specialty and hospital reps was steady, said CEI, and per-rep visits for pharmas were up.
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