Pfizer slashes 700 jobs; Elan cuts 114

It's been a tough week of layoff talk in pharma, and today's even tougher. Not one, but two drugmakers announced job cuts: Pfizer and Elan.

Pfizer is restructuring its operations in France, and you know what that means: streamlining, a.k.a. layoffs. The company said 700 jobs will be cut in the reorganization, with the layoffs focused on its French HQ in Paris and its sales force. Its union, however, claims that the cuts actually will amount to 892: from current employment of 1,771 to 879. "It is much higher than what we thought," a union delegate told Agence France Presse.

Pfizer France VP Gerard Bouquet announced the workforce reduction, saying that the reorganization will take effect Dec. 1, 2009, with "no forced layoffs" before then.

Meanwhile, Elan says it's shutting down offices in New York and Tokyo, a move that will result in 114 lost jobs. CEO Kelly Martin said Elan needed to make the changes to allow for greater investment in its products, particularly the use of Tysabri in Crohn's disease. The cutbacks won't affect the Irish drugmaker's home base in Dublin or its operations in Athlone, Ireland, the company said.

The office-closings come on the heels of criticism from investors, who critiqued Elan's farflung business structure. The investors also denounced executives' frequent use of private jets; no word yet on whether management intends cutbacks there, too.

- read Elan's release
- see the MarketWatch news
- check out the coverage from AFP
- get the Irish Times story
- peruse the Pharmalot post