Wyeth considers cutting 5,000 jobs

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Wyeth joins other pharmas for major layoffs. Source: e-Commerce Times  

Wyeth Pharmaceutials may be planning to cutback 10% of its 50,000-strong workforce over the course of the next three years.

While no official numbers are currently available, Wyeth said that it plans to announce them in March.

“Nothing is etched in stone, and it is premature to discuss how many or which positions will be affected or how the reductions will be achieved,” Doug Petkus, a spokesman for the pharmaceutical company, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Wyeth of Madison, N.J., employs nearly 1,500 people in New Jersey.

If the cuts occur, Wyeth would only be the latest pharmaceutical companies that are tightening budgets and trimming employees. GlaxoSmithKline announced in October that it would cut an unspecified number of jobs to save $1.4 billion over three years. Since January 2006, the following industry competitors have announced layoffs: Bristol-Myers Squibb 4,300 jobs; Pfizer 10,000 jobs; Merck 7,000 jobs; AstraZeneca 7,600 jobs; Schering-Plough 1,100 jobs; and Novartis 1,260 jobs.

Wyeth is confronting pressures from generic drug company, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which announced in late 2008 that it would sell a less expensive version of Wyeth's third-best seller, the heartburn drug Protonix. Wyeth and Teva declared a truce until today while they try to negotiate a settlement.

Wyeth has also faced several delays in new products, including Viviant, an experimental drug for postmenopausal bone loss. In December 2007, the FDA delayed the drug's application to examine the risk of strokes and blood clots.

The company said it had a profit of $3.6 billion in the first nine months of 2007, up 8% from the same period a year earlier.