Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim has implemented a hiring freeze and plans to reduce its headcount in its home market in a bid to reduce costs.
The news was revealed in German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which cited a company spokesperson who said Boehringer wants to trim its costs by 15 per cent in order to make more money available for investments.
The number of people employed by Boehringer in Germany has swelled by around 950 to 14,000 over the last 12 months, she said, and a "phase of consolidation" is now required to bring costs back into line. The company has suggested it will invest €643m in new projects in 2014, with around half of that total spent in Germany.
Privately-owned Boehringer employs around 45,000 people worldwide, and it is not clear whether the plans are limited to Germany or will affect its entire workforce.
In a review of its first-half performance issued yesterday, the company said "pressure resulting from the rapidly changing global market and economic conditions has increased sharply" and factors such as price reductions in the US had led to a 3 per cent decline in sales to €6.5bn. In euro terms the fall was even steeper, at nearly 8 per cent.
The news also comes shortly after the company agreed a $650m settlement of all state and federal litigation in the US regarding its oral anticoagulant Pradaxa (dabigatran), which focused on the drug's safety.
Boehringer's chairman Andreas Barner said that the company had managed to bring some lingering issues to a conclusion - including the Pradaxa litigation but also the sale of troubled manufacturing unit Bedford Laboratories to Hikma.
"We have to create scope for further development, which will enable us to continue to invest vigorously in organic and sustainable growth," said Barner.
The company can now concentrate all its efforts on the development and launch of new medicines and on the expansion of our biopharmaceutical business, he added, indicating Boehringer plans to launch 10 new products over the next two years, including nintedanib for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), volasertib for leukaemia and the antidote for Pradaxa for use in emergency situations.