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Cheerleaders: Look Beyond Pharma For Jobs

Ed Silverman

Amid the tumult that is the drug industry, pharma layoffs have long since become commonplace. And keeping tabs can be quite an exercise, but here are two of the latest examples. Purdue Pharma is scrapping 90 contract drug reps who sold the Intermezzo sleeping pill, which is made by Transcept Pharmaceuticals (TSPT), according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The move comes after a new direct-to-consumer ad campaign was begun to jumpstart disappointing sales, The San Francisco Business Times notes.

And Astellas Pharma is closing several facilities in the US and Japan in hopes of reworking its R&D operations and, in the process, will eliminate approximately 200 jobs across the US. The move includes closing OSI Pharmaceutical offices in Farmingdale, New York, where 114 people are employed, according to a notice filed with state authorities. However, a spokeswoman could not offer a specific number of jobs that will be eliminated in Japan.

Widespread job cuts in the pharmaceutical industry result in part from loss of patent protection for formerly blockbuster drugs. That saps revenue growth and, as genrics displace a brand name drug, the need for a large sales force drops off sharply. The revenue slowdown is being felt across the industry, by the likes of Pfizer (PFE), Merck (MRK), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Eli Lilly (LLY), AstraZeneca (AZN) and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY). Pharma famously recruited super-upbeat people, like former cheerleaders, to be drug reps, but the profession is less ebullient today.

PFE Revenue TTM Chart

Meanwhile, another 136 jobs in Ireland are in jeopardy as Pfizer readies the sale of a plant. And as you may recall, Eli Lilly last week disclosed that 1,624 sales reps will be shown the door, a larger amount than had been telegraphed a few weeks ago, although some may be rehired, depending upon openings that exist (covered in prior Pharma news). Similarly, AbbVie (ABBV) recently acknowledged plans to lay off hundreds of sales reps, as well (see earlier Pharma news).

To read the remainder of this article, go to Pharmalot.

Ed Silverman, a contributing editor of YCharts, is the founder and editor of Pharmalot. He previously reported on the pharmaceutical industry and other business topics for the Star-Ledger of New Jersey, New York Newsday and Investor’s Business Daily. He can be reached at editor@ycharts.com.

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