J&J to cut 900 jobs, mostly in sales

The bell tolls for more pharma sales reps. Johnson & Johnson is cutting 900 jobs at Ortho-McNeil-Janssen pharma unit, Reuters reports, or about 6 percent of its U.S. pharma workforce. Most of the positions going into that good night are sales-rep jobs. 

The good news? They're not all layoffs; some of the cuts are happening via attrition. The company refused, however, to say just how many jobs were eliminated that way. Some of the laid-off workers were told last week; the rest, we assume, await their fates.

J&J is just the latest of many drugmakers to slice their workforces. The ranks of sales reps have been hit particularly hard as the industry dials back a huge expansion of its sales operations from the mid-90s to mid-00s. And like other drugmakers, J&J is suffering from an onslaught of generic competition as some of its biggest drugs go off patent.

- read the Reuters news