Abbott's round of 700 layoffs doesn't spare pharma

Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) is laying off about 700 workers as part of its ongoing restructuring, the company says, with "several hundred" more facing the ax by year's end. The news comes almost a year to the day after Abbott announced 1,900 job cuts, also part of an ongoing restructuring.

Given that almost every major drugmaker is in the middle of an ongoing restructuring--thanks to the patent cliff, among other pressures--Abbott is in good company. The lion's share of Abbott's cuts, however, fall on its non-pharma businesses. Its stent-making operations in California will lose 300 workers, and its Lake County, IL, diagnostics business will shrink by 200. The remaining 200 layoffs apparently will hit pharma manufacturing in Puerto Rico. No word yet on where the "several hundred" more will fall.

The company tells Crain's Chicago Business the layoff announcement has nothing to do with its biggest restructuring move of all: The plan to spin off its pharma business into a separate, publicly traded company. That plan is proceeding apace, company officials said when announcing earnings yesterday. Like the still-to-come job cuts, the spin-off is expected to happen before the end of 2012.

- read the Dow Jones story
- get more from Crain's
- see the MassDevice piece

Special Report: Abbott Laboratories - Top 10 pharma layoffs of 2011