Wyeth mulls slashing workforce by 10%

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Wyeth mulls slashing workforce by 10%
Wyeth mulls slashing workforce by 10%
Wyeth is considering a cost-cutting plan that may call for elimination of 10% of its workforce over the next three years, a company spokesman told MM&M.

“The company has a major priority to become more efficient and to decrease cost in order to invest in our business and facilitate growth,” Wyeth spokesman Doug Petkus said. “Although this process is in its preliminary stages, Wyeth is evaluating a number of options including workforce reductions.”

Wyeth plans to share the details of this initiative at the end of March, Petkus explained.

“It is important to realize however that nothing is set in stone and it is premature to discuss how many or which positions may be affected or how the reductions may be achieved,” he said.

In 2007, Wyeth faced stiff competition from generic drugmakers and saw a string of pipeline setbacks that threatened to zap hundreds of millions of dollars in potential sales.

Last year, generics drugmaker Teva launched a version of Wyeth's gastroesophageal reflux disease treatment Protonix (pantoprazole) DR tablets, then ceased shipment days later after reaching a 30-day standstill agreement with Wyeth, in order to negotiate a settlement.

In another patent threat, Sun Pharmaceuticals is seeking to market an alternative formulation of Wyeth's best-selling drug, the antidepressant Effexor XR. US sales of Effexor XR were approximately $2.7 billion for the 12 months ending August 2007, according to Wolters-Kluwer Health.

Wyeth's pipeline efforts met with major interference as the FDA issued two approvable letters for developmental postmenopausal osteoporosis Viviant (bazedoxifene). The FDA said several questions identified in its initial review of the drug were not fully resolved by Wyeth.

Additional pipeline woes for Wyeth came when the FDA rejected the drugmaker's schizophrenia drug bifeprunox and safety concerns led the drugmaker to stop using a developmental hepatitis C drug in a patient study in August.

A month earlier, the FDA issued Wyeth an approvable letter for Pristiq for menopause symptoms and called for a yearlong study into safety concerns related to the drug's heart and liver effects.

In April, Wyeth received an approvable letter for its developmental osteoporosis drug Viviant.
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