Pfizer to cut nearly 2,500 jobs in sales, R&D

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Pfizer plans to lay off as many as 2,400 salespeople in the U.S.—as much as a third of its field force—and 800 in research and development (R &D) in an admission that its laboratories have failed to live up to the tens of billions of dollars it has poured into them in recent years.

The New York City-based company said it has cut 15,000 jobs in the past two years in the face of stiff competition from less-expensive generic drugs, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Pfizer’s current work force is 83,400.

Pfizer said it was continually looking to operate in a "more effective and efficient way," and the sales cutbacks will include representatives and middle managers and are to be completed this quarter, while the R &D cutbacks will affect the labs charged with discovering lucrative new drugs, according to the WSJ.

Sales jobs in the U.S. drug industry have dropped to about 90,000 now from a peak of 105,000 in the 2006 first quarter, Jaideep Bajaj, managing director of ZS Associates, a sales and marketing consulting firm, told the WSJ.

The company has eliminated more than 15,000 jobs since January 2007. In 2011, Pfizer is facing generic competition for its $13-billion-a-year blockbuster med Lipitor.