So, Roche is the latest industry giant to announce seismic job cut plans — 6 percent of its global workforce — or 4800 jobs — will go by 2012. The Swiss company aims to generate annual cost saving of 2.4 billion Swiss francs in the process. But don’t be swayed by the European currency — the bulk of the job cuts will fall in the US, and most of those — 2650 positions — will be in sales and marketing.
This isn’t shock news exactly — the company’s announcement of an imminent cost-cutting initiative was widely reported in September and the mooted cost-savings and number of job losses has been much speculated on. But the final announcement of the figure — which swells to 5,500 when the jobs to be transferred to third-party outsources are factored in — makes for depressing reading when added to the roll call of announced and planned Big Pharma layoffs of the last two years. Since 2008 this has stood at — Pfizer: 16000; Schering-Plough: 6000; Merck: 7000; J&J: 7800; AstraZeneca: 7600. (A fuller list is available this month in Pharm Exec’s ‘Inside Outsourcing’ supplement.)
Still, analysts are pointing to a sliver lining for Roches. John Bird of Datamonitor maintains that the restructuring will help in the long run. Despite the slow down in performance over last year — mainly due to a decline in demand for Roche’s influenza drug Tamiflu — Bird says “the company’s operating profit in 2009 was above average and the cost savings announced will help cement Roche’s strong fiscal position over the next six years.
You have to abate to accumulate, it seems.