1,000-plus lose jobs at Sepracor, Abbott

More sad-but-true statistics: Sepracor plans to slash 20 percent of its workforce, or 530 jobs. Another 410 contract sales jobs will be eliminated, too, for a grand total of 940 newly unemployed. And Abbott Laboratories, stymied by its inability to get a Vicodin follow-up drug approved, is cutting loose the 200 reps trained to support the new med.

Sepracor, best known as the maker of insomnia remedy Lunesta, figures that the layoffs will help reduce operating expenses by $210 million for 2009. Of the 530 permanent workers tagged for dismissal, 180 work in corporate and 350 are field-based types. Analysts told the Boston Globe that the company is shifting focus to its respiratory drugs--which require less promotion to primary-care docs, because they're usually prescribed by specialists--and away from Lunesta, which will face competition from generic Ambien CR later this year.

Abbott has its own CR worries: The FDA failed to approve Vicodin CR, a long-lasting version of the now-generic painkiller. And that's after the company staffed up to the tune of 200 sales types. The company hasn't revealed just what the FDA said in its "complete response letter," a.k.a. rejection note. But Abbott must not think it can change the agency's mind very soon if it's sacrificing the sales staff that would have handled its launch.

- get the Sepracor release
- see the PharmaGossip post
- read the story in the Boston Globe
- find the Abbott news at BNet Pharma