GSK to cut 1,800 U.S. pharma reps

Now it's official: GlaxoSmithKline will be paring away its U.S. sales force, with plans to cut the pharma rep ranks by 1,800. It looks as if about 1,000 will lose their jobs and another 800 will be reassigned in a major sales reorganization that will add weight to the vaccine side and subtract from pharma.

Right now, the drugmaker has a sales force that's 8,500 strong in the U.S. The plan is to end up with 7,500 total. That net loss of 1,000 jobs amounts to more than a 10 percent cut.

The job cuts come as part of a U.S. realignment that also will consolidate its dual headquarters in Philadelphia and Raleigh, NC, into just one in the latter location. Glaxo says it has "no plans" to shutter any facilities in the Philly area, however; the HQ change is simply to "eliminate confusion."

Glaxo's sales cutbacks join a growing list. Big Pharma has been leaning heavily on rep layoffs these days, with Merck, Schering-Plough, Sanofi-Aventis, Novartis and others making big cuts in their sales forces.

- read the story from the Associated Press