AZ cuts 1,400 jobs, blocks generic Pulmicort

As part of its "ongoing program to improve efficiency across the business," AstraZeneca announced today that the company will close three European plants in Porriño in Spain, Destelbergen in Belgium and Umeå in Sweden. The closings, which will be completed by 2013, will leave 1,400 employees out of work. There will be roles affected at AstraZeneca's Macclesfield, UK and Södertälje, Sweden facilities as well. These cuts are in addition to the 7,600 announced in 2007.

So where will the work go? AstraZeneca said it is further investing in its Wuxi plant in China. Part of this investment will provide additional packing and formulation capabilities and enable Wuxi to become the packing center for Asia Pacific. The company said the changes will make its overall manufacturing and supply chain more efficient.

"These moves are a continuation of AstraZeneca's programme to improve the organisation's productivity and efficiency," said David Smith, Executive Vice President Operations, AstraZeneca. "It moves the supply process closer to the customer, responding to their requirements and improving the security of the product wherever it is bought."

- see AstraZeneca's release
- here's the Telegraph report

PLUS: AstraZeneca's job cuts have landed it on our list of the top five layoffs of 2008.

ALSO: AstraZeneca won a temporary injunction blocking Teva from making a generic form of AsraZeneca's blockbuster drug Pulmicort. AstraZeneca and Par will also suspend sales of their own authorized generic version of the drug. Release