GSK cuts U.S. research and sales jobs as market gets tougher

Thu Dec 4, 2014 3:30am EST
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By Ben Hirschler

LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L: Quote) is to shed hundreds of U.S. commercial and research jobs, restructuring operations in its biggest market where drug sales are flagging.

A total of 900 posts will be eliminated at GSK's Research Triangle Park site in North Carolina as drug research is consolidated in Philadelphia and in Stevenage, near London, according to a filing with the North Carolina Department of Commerce. (here)

GSK, however, said some staff would be offered the chance to relocate to other sites.

"This is a significant program and will result in the loss of several hundred employees in the U.S. commercial business and a similar number in R&D activities based in the U.S.," a company spokesman said in an emailed statement.

Sources familiar with the matter said at the weekend the drugmaker would inform U.S. staff about the job cuts as it starts implementing a big cost-saving program, following a sharp decline in sales of its top-selling lung drug Advair.

Britain's biggest drugmaker announced in October that the new restructuring scheme would save 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) in annual costs over three years, although it did not go into details at the time.

Staff in the United States, where GSK employs 17,000 people in commercial and research operations, were briefed on the changes on Wednesday.

"Cuts are not being made across the board but are strategic, focused changes to allow GSK to operate more efficiently," the spokesman said. "This is a rescaling of work to reflect market forces that were anticipated but that have accelerated and are affecting the entire industry."   Continued...

The logo of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is seen on its office building in Shanghai July 12, 2013. REUTERS/Aly Song