Bristol-Myers Squibb will be handing layoff notices to another 10 percent of its 37,000 remaining workers, likely due to weak pipelines, increasing regulatory burdens, looming generic competition and (do we even need to say it?) the economy. This, along with a 10 percent cut the company announced in July of this year, will bring the total to 8,000 layoffs.
The cuts will occur through 2010, but 800 people will lose their jobs before this year is through. The layoffs are part of a streamlining effort and an attempt to lower costs by $2.5 billion before 2013 to address upcoming challenges, although the company has had a good sales run with Abilify, Erbitux and Plavix recently. According to the Wall Street Journal, the cuts will be company-wide and global, and will include researchers as well as sales staff.
The pharma giant joins other huge industry players that are sending employees to the unemployment line, including Abbott, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck and Pfizer. It might be that big pharma companies finally are finding their ways to becoming right-sized, but employees and shareholders are not happy to be holding the bag for some less-than-stellar planning.
Bristol-Myers Squibb also sold Convatec, its wound care unit (which had another 3,400 employees), in May. At around the same time it attempted to purchase ImClone, but lost to Eli Lilly.