Pfizer planning more job cuts?

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pfizer

In response to mounting media speculation of another major
restructuring drive, sparked off by an article in the Wall Street
Journal (WSJ), Pfizer has called a meeting to discuss its strategic
direction, with CEO Jeffrey B. Kindler hosting the meeting.

The WSJ has speculated that the plans involve the shedding of more jobs, and the streamlining of its drug discovery, manufacturing and marketing processes. The paper claims these job cuts could affect thousands of positions including some of the European sales force.

Since his appointment in July 2006, Kindler has been making rapid changes to the company, reshuffling many of the senior team in an attempt to rework the pharma giant's culture, cutting the US sales force to decrease costs and raising the company's dividend in attempt to appease restless shareholders.

On his appointment Kindler promised to "transform virtually every aspect of how we do business." He has also started the process of streamlining its research and development structure by organising it into 11 therapeutic areas.

Last October Pfizer announced that it would reduce costs beyond the previous $4bn cost cutting plan put in place by Kindler's predecessor Hank McKinell.

Then in November Kindler proposed a 20 per cent reduction of Pfizer's US sales force, equating to about 2,000 jobs. At the time Kindler said: "This is an important step toward making Pfizer a more agile and effective company."

Pfizer's fortunes then took a huge hit when they were forced to halt development​ on their most promising new cholesterol drug, torcetrapib, after an independent safety board found an imbalance of mortality and cardiovascular events.

Torcetrapib would have been prescribed as a combination treatment with the Pfizer's best selling drug Lipitor (atorvastatin) that has annual sales of approximately $12bn and had been pitched as a key growth driver for thbe company's cholesterol business. The combination therapy would have allowed Pfizer to defend its franchise in the build up to patent expiry in 2011.

When the news was announced Kindler said: "With regard to our business, we understand the challenge that this represents and we will respond quickly and aggressively to it."

Mr Kindler also said that Pfizer's previously announced plan for transforming the company would be accelerated.

According to the WSJ, Kindler is looking for ways to hold R&D more accountable and has increased the company's transparency by making its drug pipeline available to view on the web.

Related topics Preclinical Research

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