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GlaxoSmithKline laid off some 700 sales and marketing posts from its US commercial staff, along with related support personnel, reported the Wall Street Journal's Health Blog. While many of the jobs were eliminated, many other staffers have taken buyouts in recent months. Amidst falling revenue in Western regions, the company has been shifting some US and European sales roles over to Asia-Pacific and emerging markets, where sales have been up. GSK's last big round of pink slips was a 12% reduction in sales forces announced in 2008.

The iPad Age is upon us, as Bloomberg reports that Otsuka Pharma is buying 1,300 of the devices for its sales reps in Japan. If it goes well, the company, which co-promotes Abilify with Bristol-Myers Squibb in Europe and the US, might arm its sales forces with the iPad globally.  

A Dow Jones Newswires report calculated the value of free samples given out by Pfizer, Merck, Eli Lilly, Baxter and Abbott Labs at around $3 billion for 2007, citing Sunshine Act submissions. Pfizer accounted for a whopping $2.7 billion of that, said Down Jones, dispensing 101 million samples, and Merck dispensed 39 million samples worth $356 million.
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