Amgen cuts 450 workers, cites drug pricing pressure and inflation

After a round of layoffs in late January cut Amgen’s workforce by 300, the company has put another 450 jobs on the chopping block.

The job cuts represent less than 2% of the company’s total workforce of over 25,000, according to a statement that Amgen sent to Fierce Pharma. “We made these choices to realign our expense base in the face of intensifying pressure on drug prices and high levels of inflation so we can continue to deliver value for our patients, staff and shareholders,” the statement continued.

The impacted staff were notified yesterday, Mar. 16. The company will “support staff leaving Amgen” by offering transition services and severance.

The late January layoffs were also chalked up to industry headwinds, with the company noting at the time that the changes were meant to “deliver value” to patients, staff and shareholders.

Amgen’s cuts are the latest in a wave across the industry. In late Feb., Bayer laid off 55 workers at its Berkeley, California campus. In a statement emailed to Fierce Pharma at the time, the German company notes its Separation Election Program, which offers retirement to staff 55 years and older with at least 10 years of service.

The next day, troubled Akorn Pharmaceuticals called it quits, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It let go if its entire workforce after trying and failing to sell itself. The closure lead to a shortage of a “very specific dosage” of asthma medicine albuterol that is typically used in hospitals, the FDA said. Akorn was the sole manufacturer of that particular dosage.

Amgen started off the year flying high with the highly-anticipated launch of its Humira biosimilar, Amjevita. It offered the drug at two different price points, one 55% below Humira’s list price of $6,922 per month and the other at a 5% discount.

But more recently, the California-based drugmaker found itself on the receiving end of an investor lawsuit for allegedly hiding a massive tax bill of $10.7 billion from its investors and therefore artificially inflating its stock price from July 2020 to April 2022. Amgen’s tax battle with the IRS came from a disagreement over costs and profits tied to its manufacturing in Puerto Rico, with the agency contending that the company shifted tens of billions in profits to its Puerto Rico subsidiary over the years and therefore avoiding billions in taxes.