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US cuts at Boehringer hit sales force hardest

And Arena Pharmaceuticals plans US and Swiss 'reductions'
Boehringer Ingelheim

Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim is to cut more than 700 jobs across its US operations, with the axe falling hardest on its sales functions.

The 724 redundancies include 49 at the company's US HQ in Danbury, Connecticut, but according to a filing with the Connecticut Department of Labor the remainder will mostly occur in sales.

The nature of pharma sales has been changing over the last decade or so, with many companies opting for less face-to-face interaction with physicians and other healthcare providers.

Patent cliffs have also hit big pharma hard, with several firms recently announcing major restructures in a bid to make savings and funnel money into R&D.

Boehringer said in a statement: “The actions we are taking now will help us reinvent the way we serve the needs of our patients, and enable us to continue to make significant investments.”

Boehringer has made a number of recent changes to its operation worldwide in a bid to make itself more competitive. Last year the company announced it was to leave the generics sector by making an asset swap (consumer health interests in return for an animal health business) with Sanofi and a $2.6bn deal with specialty firm Hikma.

From this month Boehringer's R&D operations are to be renamed the 'Innovation Unit', handling all stages of development up to clinical proof-of-concept. Its Prescription Medicines Business Unit will be responsible for the subsequent 'highly market-oriented development' of products.

The US pharma industry has been hard hit in the last year, and the company is not alone in making cutbacks. As part of a move to save $1.5 billion worldwide, AstraZeneca has already pledged to close a manufacturing plant in Westborough, Massachusetts. Other measures will involve shutting a site in Bristol, UK.

… and Arena also plans US and Swiss cuts
Meanwhile Arena Pharmaceuticals is also slashing headcount at its workforce in the US by 35% - around 80 staff - in a bid to save $11m. Arena also said it was to make “reductions” at its Swiss manufacturing facility to create further savings.

Harry Hixson, Arena's interim CEO, said: “This initiative supports our strong desire to create a more streamlined and efficient organisation focused on key priorities designed to add both near- and long-term value to the organisation.”

Article by
Adam Hill

4th July 2016

From: Sales

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