Schering to axe 1,000 reps

Record a new addition to the bloodbath in pharma sales departments. Schering-Plough plans to axe 1,000 reps, or 20 percent of its sales force. The cuts will come quickly: The company's goal is to get them done by next month.

Part of Schering's previously announced restructuring, the sales cuts are nevertheless deeper than those in other departments. In April, CEO Fred Hassan laid out a framework of payroll cuts that would save $1.5 billion by 2012. The layoffs would amount to 10 percent of Schering's 55,000-strong workforce--half the percentage now slashed from the sales ranks.

As you know, Schering is far from alone in laying off employees in general, and sales reps in particular. Most Big Pharma firms, plus a Big Biotech or two, have announced restructuring plans that include thousands of layoffs. In sales, those sharing the pain include reps from Merck (1,200), Wyeth (1,200), and Sanofi-Aventis (800). And those are just the ones we already know about.

- read the scoop at Pharmalot