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Eli Lilly sales reps offered voluntary exit

US drugmaker Eli Lilly has offered buyouts to thousands of its US sales representatives

US drugmaker Eli Lilly has offered buyouts to thousands of its US sales representatives in the hope that several hundred will opt for voluntary redundancy ahead of a planned restructuring.

Approximately 4,000 sales employees in the US diabetes, neuroscience and osteoporosis units will be eligible for the programme, but buyouts are limited to a few hundred.

"We're trying to lower our headcount ahead of the restructuring and get us closer to the desired number" said company spokesman Edward Sagebiel.

Employees who accept the buyout will be offered the company's standard severance package plus an additional four months pay, Sagebiel said.

The new structure will feature smaller territories, each with one sales rep who has deep expertise in a treatment area. The plans are to be announced in November 2009 and will begin in January 2010.

Eli Lilly have acknowledged that the headcount reductions are a response to the challenging economic environment and the 2011 patent expiration of its top-selling Zyprexa (olanzapine) schizophrenia drug.

5th August 2009

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