Is there a sunny side to pharma layoffs?

The persistent job cuts in Big Pharma have some people looking for the bright side. Yes, thousands of employees are set to lose their paychecks. But that doesn't mean the sky is falling. Does it?

Leaving aside the obvious silver-lining promise--that the companies themselves will be more efficient, and thus deliver more returns to their shareholders and better long-term prospects for their remaining workers--here are a few of the proposals that make lemonade out of the current pharma lemons.

First, Big Pharma's cutbacks leave some workers at loose ends--and those very workers come up with new, start-up ideas that yield innovative products, new jobs, and healthy small businesses. "[W]hen cuts have been made in the past, the sector has risen to the challenge and we have seen some exceptional start-ups created as a result," says Harriet Fear, a biotech leader in eastern England, "by dynamic ex big pharma employees looking to make a difference by going it alone."

Second, and you've heard this one before, the cut jobs in mature Western markets are enabling staff-ups in emerging economies. But as Daily Finance admits, this silver lining is rather limited; it doesn't give much hope to those who are losing their jobs in the U.S. and Europe.

Third, some workers are escaping the axe. For instance, Computer Weekly tells us that information technology workers at AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline probably aren't on the chopping block. But that's limited, too; the companies have outsourced most of their day-to-day IT, the magazine notes.

- read the Business Weekly story
- check out the Daily Finance piece
- see the news from Computer Weekly

ALSO: UCB is officially exiting the U.S. primary care market this month, with Sanofi-Aventis taking full responsibility for the allergy drug Xyzal, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries grabbing the ProAir HFA inhaler. Report