PharmExec Blog

AstraZeneca, BMS Announce Layoffs and Buyouts

AstraZeneca was the topic of conversation this week as word broke that the company is offering buyout deals to every member of its 5,500 US sales force.

“AstraZeneca is making changes to our sales force, which will be managed first by looking at vacancies and offering field sales employees the opportunity to self-identify whether they are interested in leaving the company,” a company spokesperson stated in an email. “We will know the full scope of the changes in the coming weeks.”

The strategy is similar to the move made earlier this year by US automakers to reduce their work force. However, it seems that AZ is looking to thin its ranks to compensate for loss of patent exclusivity rather than find more affordable help. The question is: What happens if the buyout quota isn’t met? Currently, only AZ executives know—and they aren’t talking. 

Meanwhile, local press in Indiana is reporting that Bristol-Myers Squibb filed paperwork stating it will close its Evansville, IL, plant and lay off 113 employees at that location and one other facility. The Courier Press of Evansville wrote that job losses would include 57 production operators in Evansville and 14 team leaders in both Evansville and Mount Vernon.

Pfizer is also being tight lipped about pending layoffs, but did reveal changes it’s making to existing facilities. According to a letter sent to employees, the company intends to keep its New York headquarters intact, while its Madison location will become the leadership center for the diversified businesses, animal health, consumer healthcare, and a few other units. Pfizer plans to close its Bridgewater, NJ, facility and Wyeth’s Great Valley, PA, campus by mid-2010. The Morris Plains, NJ, facility is still under review, and Wyeth’s Collegeville, PA, location will serve as the leadership center for the new specialty care business unit.

“It’s important for all colleagues to note that the location of a leadership center for a particular business unit does not require all colleagues working in that business to be located at the same facility,” Pfizer CFO Frank D’Amelio stated in the letter. “Rather, over the course of the next several weeks, each business will be determining the best location for each colleague, and managers will soon begin having individual conversations with colleagues impacted by these decisions.”

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One Comment

  1. Raj
    Posted October 22, 2009 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Big pharma are victims of their own success. Too much margins and expanding revenues in 90′s made ways for free spending, expanding sales force beyond what was optimum, 3-5 sales representatives promoting one product where only 1-2 were needed. Big pharma built huge R&D centers, and employed thousands of workers and money was spent and feverish pace. All leading to downfall that we are seeing now. The leadership in our corporate America has been poor at best. From Wall Street to other corporates and big pharma wasn’t any different. Personal greed has overtaken good corporate governance, boards are suppose to oversee governance became one large country club where CEO’s and CFO’s spend lavishly on board members and got virtually anything approved.

    It is high time society society reaceted to this excess and manage it. We have to substitute personal greed with what is good for society and corporation. That will require ground up changes from school education to colleges, from parents teaching their kids to government behaving in a more responsible way. The soluton has to be multi pronged and big pharma is just one piece of the puzzle

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