Welcome Wyeth to the layoff parade. The drugmaker is plotting cutbacks, including job cuts that could amount to 10 percent of its 50,000-strong workforce. Because the company is just beginning to hash out the details, no hard numbers are yet available. According to a Wyeth spokesman, the plans will be announced in March.
Wyeth, of course, is facing the same pressures as other pharma companies who've laid off thousands of workers. Take generic competition: The active ingredient in the company's biggest-selling drug, Effexor XR, goes off patent this June, and Sun Pharmaceutical is readying a generic version. Meanwhile, its blockbuster heartburn med Protonix faces a copycat from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which is threatening to launch its version even as the companies dispute its patent protection in court. Wyeth and Teva declared a truce till next Thursday while they try to negotiate a settlement.
And in prepping for layoffs, Wyeth joins a veritable roll call of the biggest names in the business. Merck, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Amgen, GlaxoSmithKline--everyone who's anyone is doing it.