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Pfizer cutting hundreds of jobs

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Pfizer cutting hundreds of jobs
Photo: DPA
14:20 CEST+02:00
The world's biggest pharmaceutical firm Pfizer is cutting more than 500 jobs in Germany – around one in eight of the work places in the country, according to insiders who have spoken to the Handelsblatt newspaper.

The paper reported on Thursday that the areas most hit would be representatives of the company who visit doctors to promote particular drugs. But some of the cuts would be in the administration too, it said.

The plans are said to be part of the global savings programme with which Pfizer intends to get over an extended period of reduced turnover due to the expiry of patents on several important drugs.

But recent changes in pricing regulations have cost pharma firms heavily in Germany, while internationally standards of proof required for new drugs to be allowed onto the market have been tightened, making the final stages of research more expensive.

“The healthcare policy environment has clearly clouded the expectations for future business,” said a spokesman for the company.

A price cap which is expected to be imposed on Pfizer's painkiller Lyrica in Germany is also expected to reduce profits for the firm.

Most of the jobs expected to be cut in Germany will be in the “Primary Care” division, the Handelsblatt reported, although Pfizer itself would not comment on details. The plans are currently being discussed with workers' councils, the spokesman said.

Pfizer's savings programme is part of rationalisation being conducted in pharma firms the world over, as they are hit by the expiry of patents on drugs, which allows copied - or generic - drugs to be launched at a fraction of the price.

An estimate of the rating agency Standard & Poor's suggested that by the end of next year, drugs wort around $40 billion a year will lose their patent protection – including Lipitor, Pfizer's blockbuster cholesterol reducing pill. It currently contributes nearly $11 billion a year to Pfizer's total annual turnover of $68 billion.

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