Sanofi-Aventis sales cuts come due, 750 reps slashed

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Sanofi-Aventis said it would lay off 750, or nearly 12%, of its US sales reps, as the firm retrenches in the face of generic exposure on some of its lead products.

A company spokesperson told MM&M that affected reps include those in three business units: general, specialized therapeutics and oncology. While reps in the first two units had been contacted by early December, those in oncology were expected to take longer to call.

This round of cuts is expected to reduce rep count in the firm's overall US sales organization to about 5,750, from 6,500.
“These hard decisions were necessitated by shifting customer needs, the diminishing effectiveness of traditional marketing practices and, in particular, generic competition to some of our key brands,” the spokesperson said. “While sales professionals and managers will remain integral to our business, we're creating an organization that more appropriately reflects our product portfolio and the realities of the market.”

Sanofi-Aventis has begun facing generic competition in the US for cancer drug Eloxatin and in some parts of Europe for anti-platelet drug Plavix. Generic versions of Lovenox have yet to launch, but companies like Momenta, Teva and Amphastar are seeking to launch copies of the anti-clotting product.

After new CEO Chris Viehbacher took the helm last December, Sanofi-Aventis announced it would cut 10% or less of its US reps.

Many of the reps called last month were eligible to apply for existing openings, and employees who are ultimately displaced will be eligible for a separation package, said the spokesperson, adding, “The company remains committed to ensuring that these employees are treated with respect and are well supported during the transition.”

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