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February 28, 2007


Drug Companies Restructure To Cut Costs

Abbott and AstraZeneca are the latest to announce layoffs

Lisa M. Jarvis

Drug companies continue to shed research, sales, and manufacturing jobs as part of cost-cutting and restructuring efforts.

Abbott Laboratories has cut fewer than 200 positions, primarily scientists working at its Lake County, Ill., facility, as it reshapes its drug discovery strategy to concentrate on fewer disease areas, according to a spokesman. The company has discontinued its metabolic diseases drug discovery program and will narrow in on certain areas of its remaining programs in immunology, infection, neuroscience and pain, and oncology.

Separately, Abbott is also shedding several hundred primary-care sales positions in the U.S. to eliminate overlap with the sales force of Kos Pharmaceuticals, which Abbott acquired in December.

Meanwhile, more details have emerged about the 3,000 jobs that AstraZeneca expects to cut over the next three years as it overhauls its global manufacturing network. About 850 jobs will be lost at its Swedish production facilities, in addition to the 450 positions that were eliminated at the end of 2006. Roughly 700 positions will be phased out at its Macclesfield, England, site, where AstraZeneca is adding a $105 million process research and development lab.

AstraZeneca also expects to slash 400 to 450 jobs at its U.S. operations. The company has yet to announce all the affected locations, though a company spokeswoman says about 50 jobs will be eliminated at its Newark, Del., site later this spring.

The cuts at Abbott and AstraZeneca come on the heels of Pfizer's plan to shed 10,000 jobs and Bayer's elimination of R&D and other positions around the world following its acquisition of Schering.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society

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