AstraZeneca sales force gets buyout offer

AstraZeneca is offering buyouts to its entire sales force. Yep, you read that right. Pharmalot reports that the U.K.-based drugmaker asked its reps to "self-identify" whether they'd prefer to leave the company with a severance package or stick around. Presumably the company is counting on some portion of its sales force to exit. The question is, how many?

The voluntary buyout offer comes almost one year after a round of sales layoffs in AstraZeneca's European operation. Some 1,400 reps were cut at that time, and scuttlebutt around the company said the sales force would shrink even more.

Obviously, the rumors were correct. The planned cuts will be part of an overall revamp of the sales operations, which includes combining various sales teams. Fewer teams equals fewer reps. "AstraZeneca is making changes to our sales force, which will be managed first by looking at vacancies and offering field sales employees the opportunity to self-identify whether they are interested in leaving the company," a spokesman told Pharmalot. "We will know the full scope of the changes in the coming weeks."

We don't know about you, but we detect the hint of a potential layoff in that statement, if too few reps choose to take their severance and run. But only time will tell.

- read the Pharmalot post