CEO: Roche eyes cuts in primary-care sales

Careful, Roche sales people. You're being watched. CEO Severin Schwan (photo) tells Reuters today that one focus of the company's newly announced efficiency drive is the primary-care sales force. And because we all know efficiency plans tend to spawn job cuts, that sales force should probably start sending out resumes.

Why primary care? In a word, taspoglutide. The diabetes drug--which naturally would have been marketed through the primary-care sales force--hit major snag earlier this year, and then, on Friday, the company announced it would stop clinical trials because side effects had prompted too many patients to drop out. No need for sales reps when a drug won't hit the market.

Schwan promises that there's light at the end of the tunnel; however, the company has hit a rough patch now, but it will see growth accelerate again after 2012. "Growth is slowing down, and that is related on the one hand to the price pressure that we see both in the U.S. and in a number of European countries and it is related to the late-stage setbacks in our pipeline," Schwan tells Reuters. "However, growth rates will pick up again when our new products are coming through." Unfortunately for some Roche employees, 2012 will be too late.

- read the Reuters interview