Sweden next to be hit by AstraZeneca job cuts

By Anna Lewcock

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Astrazeneca, United kingdom

850 jobs are set to be cut across AstraZeneca's Swedish sites, on
top of the previously announced 450 already due to be lost in the
country over the course of 2007.

The latest cuts are due to take place over the next three years, as part of AstraZeneca's drive to increase efficiency and productivity. Plans announced along with the company's financial results at the start of this month included a reduction in global headcount of 3,000, with 700 job losses at the company's Macclesfield site in the UK already announced last week. As part of the "global need to address AstraZeneca's overcapacity in manufacturing and product supply,"​ productivity at the company's Swedish operations is hoped to see a 30 per cent improvement over the next three years. Although it was originally thought that the 850 job losses would be covered through natural attrition and voluntary departures, the company has since re-evaluated and anticipates that this may not be sufficient to meet staff reduction requirements. "We can foresee a decline in production volume in coming years,"​ Staffan Ternby of AstraZeneca told In-PharmaTechnologist.com. "We have patents expiring, Losec [due to lose patent protection between 2007 and 2014] is one example, and have experienced some setbacks in R&D over the last two years as late stage development projects have failed leaving us without a flow of new products and with a temporary gap."​ All 850 jobs lost will be in production at AstraZeneca's Södertälje site near Stockholm, also the company's research and development headquarters. Södertälje is the company's biggest production site worldwide, with 4,500 people currently employed in the production facility there. "This is very much a controlled downscaling of production…the company is not closing down."​ said Ternby. With over half of the 3,000 job cuts forecast by the company already announced mere weeks after the plans were made public by the company, AstraZeneca has been quick to act on its word and start in motion its strategy to cut costs and increase productivity. With both Sweden and the UK, representing AstraZeneca's largest production areas, already having felt the brunt of the company's staff reduction drive, Ternby told In-PharmaTechnologist that the firm's US sites are likely to be hit next with "a couple of hundred"​ jobs likely to be lost. In addition to the job cuts currently being announced, AstraZeneca is also investing in new facilities, initiating collaborations and acquiring other pharma companies in a bid to expand and strengthen its product portfolio. In the last month alone, the firm has announced a $120m (€91.2m) investment in a process R&D lab the UK, the acquisition of Arrow Therapeutics to broaden its anti-infective capabilities, a collaboration with Palatin Technologies to develop obesity compounds, and a $100m research investment in the US. "We have a lot of initiatives going on all over the company,"​ said Ternby.

Related topics: Ingredients

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