Sanofi lays off 400 more U.S. sales reps

The shrunken U.S. sales force of Sanofi-Aventis is shrinking yet again. As BNet Pharma reports, the U.S. operation is laying off some 400 reps to account for generic competition and underperforming drugs.

One of the culprits is Ambien CR, the sleeping pill that's now fighting generic rivals for market share. Another is the antidepressant Aplenzin, which hasn't been racking up tons of sales; Sanofi is outsourcing sales support for that drug. Meanwhile, the company restructured its Actonel marketing deal with Warner Chilcott, giving the latter full marketing power for the osteoporosis drug--and full responsibility for sales costs.

Retrenching on these drugs will pull the rug out from under hundreds of reps. Some of the Actonel reps can interview for sales jobs with Warner-Chilcott, according to a letter sent to Sanofi reps by VP Jerry Dorso. Some reps who've been handling declining products in Dorso's area of expertise--specialized therapeutics--might move to the U.S. diabetes sales force to help promote Lantus. But some 400 are being notified that they're out of work.

This latest round of sales cuts comes after hundreds of Sanofi reps lost their jobs just before Christmas, including full-time staff and contract reps. And the rationale behind the new layoffs is quite similar to the manufacturing restructuring that's going on in Sanofi's European plants: A change in focus toward up-and-coming products and away from drugs on the wane. Unfortunately, some Sanofi staffers are losing out in the changeover.

- see the BNet piece
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