Lilly wants to buy out 500 workers

Add up to 500 Eli Lilly workers to the pharma layoff toll. The Indianapolis-based pharma plans to offer buyout packages to 2,000 manufacturing and engineering employees who work on active ingredients for Humalog and Humulin insulin products and the Forteo osteoporosis med. The deals are designed to cut up to 500 jobs, primarily in manufacturing, but a few in R&D as well.

Lilly CEO John Lechleiter (photo) called the buyouts a necessary part of the company's strategy for cutting costs and improving productivity. "[W]e must align our production capacity with customer demands," he said. Humalog is set to lose patent protection between 2011 and 2014, but it still ranks fourth among Lilly drugs, with $1.5 billion in 2007 sales. Humulin brought in $985 million, while Forteo accounted for $709 million in sales.

Lechleiter also noted that Lilly has cut its headcount by 12 percent from peak levels in mid-2004, or about 5,500 jobs. It currently employs about 12,000 in Indianapolis.

- see Lilly's news release
- read the story in the International Herald Tribune
- check out the Pharmalot item

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