AstraZeneca revealed plans to eliminate 700 positions, including 120 positions from the company’s headquarters in Fairfax, Delaware.
The company announced the layoffs just a few weeks before the holidays on Thursday, December 8:
We will reduce US Commercial Business expenses, which includes the elimination of approximately 700 positions (roughly 80 of those will come from existing vacancies) and a reduction in discretionary spend. The impacted positions are across the US organization, including the company’s North America Commercial headquarters, and some field-based sales and field-based non-sales roles. This reduction will contribute to the planned decline in Core SG&A costs in FY 2016 and FY 2017, as previously announced in February of this year.
Prior to this announcement, approximately 2,100 workers were employed at AstraZeneca’s Delaware facilities (including Fairfax, Newark, and Wilmington), which leads to some discrepancy over the company’s claim that the total state workforce would total 1,500 after the cuts. The layoffs will take effect on February 10.
According to USA Today:
“The remaining impacted roles are field-based roles across the US and include both sales and non-sales roles,” said a company spokeswoman via email. “These changes are specific to the US Commercial Business and do not apply to other parts of the business, including Newark, or other US-based global employees.”
The layoffs are part of an effort to address AstraZeneca’s U.S. revenue, which has been on decline in 2016.
The drugmaker has been shifting its focus business focus to targeted treatments for rare diseases (with little to no treatment options currently available), which is a considerable transformation from their previous focus on highly-competitive drugs such as antibiotics. They also purchased Acerta Pharma for $4 billion one year prior, acquiring the company’s rare blood cancer medicine.
In 2005, AstraZeneca employed 5,000 people. After patent losses and global recession, however, the company underwent a significant restructuring and has been gradually reducing its workforce.
Unfortunately, this announcement comes on the heels of several other layoff announcements, including:
- Boehringer Ingleheim eliminating 244 jobs
- Teva making plans to close operations at a manufacturing site, cutting 200 positions
- Mylan‘s announcement to restructure their company, potentially removing 3,500 jobs
- Endo‘s layoff of 375 sales employees
- Perrigo‘s attempt to address underperformance by eliminating 80 positions