Lundbeck announced Thursday that it plans to lay off up to 600 employees that are part of its European operations. Spokesperson Mads Kronborg told MM&M that the 600 number is flexible – the company has to negotiate with local work councils, and won’t have a definitive number until those talks end.
The company said in a statement that the proposed layoffs will help the drugmaker mitigate price pressures of healthcare reform and generics and to weather “uncertainty regarding pricing and reimbursement in Europe.”
The transition is part of a larger shift within the company.
“Today’s GPs do not decide in the same extent as they did earlier on what they prescribe today,” Kronborg said. “You tend to address regulators and payers and make sure your have your medicines on your central lists, and that [requires] an organization that is capable of addressing market access.”
At the same time, the company is moving into heavily specialized areas. Its Phase III pipeline includes drug candidates for treatment of psychosis, ischemic stroke and depression, and the company has filed for approval on products for alcoholism and schizophrenia.
Despite seeing generics trigger a 55% falloff in US Lexapro sales in the first quarter of this year, and generic Cipralex taking a bite out of sales in Spain for that same period, the company said in its earnings statement that it is on track for sales in the $2.6 billion range this year. Some first-quarter highlights included the Alzheimer’s medication Ebixa (memantine), Parkinson’s treatment Azilect (rasagiline) and Huntington’s therapy Xenazine (tetrabenazine), which all had double-digit sales increases for the period, compared to the same time last year.
“We are aiming here to build the pharma commercial model for the future in Europe,” Kronborg said.