Big deals equal big job cuts in 2009

The pharma industry has eliminated more than twice as many jobs through August 2009 as it did during the same period last year. That's according to a study by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, which concludes that 53,000 jobs have been cut this year compared to just 24,880 in 2008.

Major buyouts--and the inevitable elimination of redundant positions--have had a lot to do with the jump in job loss numbers. When Pfizer acquired Wyeth, it announced that 19,000 workers would be laid off, while the Merck/Schering-Plough deal will result in the loss of 16,000 positions. Just yesterday, Eli Lilly revealed that 5,500 workers would be let go as part of a $1 billion company reorganization. And earlier this year AstraZeneca said it would double the size of its cost-cutting plan--which means another 7,400 or so jobs face the axe by 2013. Across the industry, pharma sales reps have been particularly hard hit by the cuts as most pharma companies have elected to reduce sales jobs.

- take a look at the Business Journal brief