16. January 2012 12:33
Novartis will axe nearly 2,000 positions in the US after restructuring its General Medicines business in new plans it says will strengthen its long-term position within the industry.
Its field force will be reduced by approximately 1,630 positions with a further 330 jobs removed from administrative functions after the loss of patent exclusivity on Diovan and the termination of the ALTITUDE study.
David Epstein, Division Head of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, says the job cuts are “difficult but necessary decisions” which will allow the company to invest in future opportunities.
The restructuring will take place in the spring and is expected to cost the company $160 million, which Novartis hopes will reflect annual savings of around $450 million by 2013.
Diovan, the market-leading hypertension medication, is expected to lose its patent protection in the US in September 2012. Demand for Rasilez is also expected to fall after the ALTITUDE trial was halted following the recommendation from the Data Monitoring Committee (DMC).
The study was investing Rasilez in patients with type 2 diabetes and renal impairment. But, as a precaution, it was ceased in combination with an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) after data indentified higher adverse effects when Rasilez was added. Novartis expects the move will lead to a loss in sales of $900 million.
In addition, the company also expects to lose around $160 million after the termination of its PRT128 (elinogrel) and SMC021 (oral calcitonin) programmes.
“We recognise that the next two years will be challenging in the Pharmaceuticals Division and we are proactively making these changes to further focus our pipeline on the best opportunities and align our market position on our growth brands,” said David Epstein.