UPDATED: AstraZeneca steps up its global restructuring with 550 new job cuts

AstraZeneca's headquarters in London--Courtesy of AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca ($AZN) has upped its job-cutting toll to 5,600. After announcing 5,050 layoffs last year, the company disclosed today that it's adding another 550 to the mix. That brings the total workforce cuts to 5,600 jobs.

Also part of this expanded "phase 4" of its years-long restructuring are some operational moves: revamping its IT team and infrastructure; pulling out of R&D in Bangalore, India; and scrapping branded generics in certain emerging markets. Total additional cost cuts? $300 million per year.

Like the 5,050 cuts previously announced, the additional 550 will come over the next few years and will be wrapped up by 2016, the company said. The new layoffs and other cuts trigger additional costs, of course: $200 million, bringing the total annual savings to $2.5 billion.

The latest announcement doesn't come with details on which jobs will go and where. Previously, the company has said that most of the 2,300-job reduction in sales and administrative functions will come in Europe, with R&D and other cuts around the globe. The R&D shutdown in Bangalore, announced locally last week, is expected to involve 168 jobs.

AstraZeneca's job cuts were already among the largest announced in 2013, surpassed only by Merck's 8,500. In both cases, the workforce reductions follow several others over the patent-cliff years. AZ's restructuring--phases 1 to 3--claimed more than 20,000 jobs.

All of Big Pharma has been through the job-cutting wringer, of course, and the reasons are common to all. Just read AstraZeneca's Q4 earnings report: Generic competition, in its case for its blockbuster antipsychotic Seroquel, and a few smaller products slashed $2.2 billion out of its 2013 sales. Meanwhile, new products haven't yet kicked in, partly because of some high-profile R&D failures.

- see the AstraZeneca release

Special Report: The top 10 largest pharma layoffs of 2013 - AstraZeneca

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