Industry Cuts Deep Between Holidays

Dec 10, 2008

With only weeks left before the end of the year, industry is working in overdrive to decrease costs anywhere it can. Sadly, the pharma worker is bearing the brunt of cutbacks. Lilly and Sanofi-Aventis have all announced layoffs ranging from 650 to 30 employees since Thanksgiving, and people are speculating how many more jobs will be lost before Christmas.

One of the areas under fire continues to be sales representatives. On Monday, Pharmalot reported that Lilly would shed nearly half of ImClone’s 70-person sales force. Lilly purchased the biotech for $6.5 billion in October after a bidding war with Bristol-Myers Squibb. ImClone’s key cancer drug Erbitux is currently co-marketed by BMS.

Meanwhile, Sanofi-Aventis confirmed that it will let go an unspecified number of sales reps as part of its continuing restructuring program. While an actual number has not been given, reports suggest that the company is trimming nearly 10 percent of its 6,500-person salesforce. This announcement comes days after former GSK executive stepped up as CEO of Sanofi-Aventis. 

“As part of this realignment, we've identified areas where we've needed to increase sales support, and others where reductions were necessary,” Sanofi spokesman Marc Greene told Dow Jones last week. “We're currently in the process of ensuring placement for as many people as possible where reductions were necessary.”