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With the fourth quarter quickly coming to a close, talks of job cuts are once again in the air. The first major layoffs could be coming at Sanofi-Aventis, which is rumored to be slashing up to 1,500 positions.
The pharma industry has been quiet lately when it comes to sweeping layoffs; with the exception of the looming redundancy cuts at Pfizer and some small scale-backs here and there, drug firms have, in recent months, slowed the flow of jobs going down the drain.
Alas, nothing ever stays quiet in the pharma. Word broke on BNET on Monday that Sanofi-Aventis is planning to eliminate upward of 1,200 positions due to generic competition in the cancer space and looming patent expirations for Plavix and Avapro.
BNET’s Jim Edwards took Sanofi-Aventis to task on Tuesday for veiling its layoffs and failing to release a press statement. “It told its work force immediately before the Thanksgiving break that they should stay at home on the following Monday, and await a phone call telling them whether their job was safe or gone,” Edwards noted on his blog.
When Pharm Exec reached out for comment, Sanofi spokesperson Jack Cox responded promptly with the following:
"We currently are in the process of contacting about 750 sales professionals to let them know their jobs have been eliminated,” Cox stated in an email. “In our General and Specialized Therapeutics Business Units, the notification process is complete. In the Oncology Business Unit, the process will continue until mid-month.”
Cox also stated that the laid-off employees can apply for open positions within the company, and personnel released from the company will received appropriate severance packages.
"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,” Cox 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."
About a year ago, Sanofi announced that it was cutting 800 sales positions due to a thin pipeline. No word on whether more layoffs are forthcoming at the French drug firm.