Pfizer - Top 10 pharma layoffs of 2011

Company: Pfizer ($PFE)
Based: New York
Job cuts announced: about 4,220
Dates revealed: Feb. 1, September
Themes: R&D cuts, European drug pricing, patent cliff

The scoop: Unlike Merck, Pfizer aimed at deep spending cuts in its R&D operations in 2011, aiming to reduce its R&D budget by $1.5 billion. The world's largest drugmaker has been realigning its research priorities, with plans to close its R&D facility in Sandwich, U.K., where Viagra was developed, as well as move research operations from eastern Connecticut to Cambridge, MA. The Norwich Bulletin newspaper reported Feb. 1 that Pfizer's job cuts in New London, CT, and Groton, CT, could total as many as 1,100 over 18 months, and the planned closure of Pfizer's lab in Sandwich is expected to claim as many as 2,400 jobs, The Guardian in the U.K. reported on the same day.

Pfizer, of course, has plenty of motivation to keep an eye on its budget. The company lost patent exclusivity on megablockbuster cholesterol pill Lipitor in November, for one, and its $68 billion buyout of Wyeth in 2009 has been the impetus for thousands of job cuts.

Things aren't hunky dory on the commercial side, either. With European governments pushing for lower drug prices, Pfizer is reportedly cutting 220 employees in Spain and 500 workers in Germany, impacting sales and administrative positions in the two EU countries. In general, the layoffs have hit hardest at the company's operations in the U.S. and Europe, where business growth has been stagnant compared with emerging markets.

Pfizer - Top 10 pharma layoffs of 2011