This should not come as a surprise. The big drugmaker just two months ago disclosed plans to cut another $1 billion or so in expenses, with a first phase that will amount to $500 million in cutbacks taking place this year. The move, of course, comes in response to the loss of patent protection for the Lipitor cholesterol pill, a $10.7 billion seller, and other big-selling meds.
Pfizer sales reps were told to expect phone calls next week about their fate. Some say, however, there is frustration in the ranks. The drugmaker has allegedly indicated more than once that the sales force was “told since the Wyeth acquisition that Pfizer was “right sized” ‘ for the Lipitor patent expiration that will occur this fall, one source tells us.
In response to questions, a Pfizer spokesman wrote this: “While I cannot confirm specific actions related to our US organization, Pfizer remains focused on prudent capital and resource management. We have planned for Lipitor’s loss of exclusivity at a corporate, portfolio, and brand level for several years. The company continues to support the brand where it makes sense prior to the loss of exclusivity to maximize the value of the product.” He declined to say how many rep jobs will be cut.
As part of its newest round of cost cutting, Pfizer plans to eliminate duplicative administrative work at its New York headquarters and offices elsewhere, promotion, travel, entertainment and consultants, as well as materials, supplies and electronic devices for sales reps. The cuts would trim almost 5 percent from selling, informational and administrative expenses, which were $19.6 billion last year. Over the past few years, Pfizer has cut nearly 20,000 jobs to save costs and combine operations after acquiring Wyeth. Overall, Pfizer currently employs nearly 110,000 people (back story).