Sanofi to shed up to 650 reps

It seems as if every time we publish our biggest layoffs list, new entries come to the fore. Today's installment comes from Sanofi-Aventis, which is plotting another raft of sales-rep cuts, this time in the United States.

As you know, Sanofi has already thinned the rep ranks in Europe by about 800. Now, it's going for a "single-digit percentage" reduction in its U.S. sales force, or up to 650 positions. (We know you're math whizzes and have already figured out that Sanofi currently counts 6,500 U.S. reps.)

Two things about these cuts: One, they come just two days after GlaxoSmithKline alum Chris Viehbacher (photo) took over the CEO post. Industry observers were expecting Viehbacher to get busy with some cost-cutting and other changes, but did anyone predict that he'd move this fast? Two, the laid-off Sanofi folks will be joining an ever-growing queue of laid-off pharma reps looking for new jobs. The list of companies that have shed sales staff this year reads like a Who's Who of Pharma, including Novartis, Merck, Wyeth, GSK, Schering-Plough, and Boehringer Ingelheim.

- check out our Top Layoffs feature
- see the Wall Street Journal Health Blog post
- check out Pharmalot's take