Thursday, December 6, 2007

Lilly to continue cutting jobs

More troubling news from the pharmaceutical industry, this time from one of Indiana's largest and most respected employers:

Eli Lilly and Co. CEO Sidney Taurel says the company will continue reducing its work force - even through some job cuts - as the entire pharmaceutical industry tries to retool for a future without the kinds of mega-blockbusters that sustained it for decades.

"We're going to continue, year after year, with great intensity, to reduce our head count, taking advantage mostly of attrition, some functional actions where necessary," Taurel said in a television interview this morning with Bloomberg News.

In a separate interview with The Wall Street Journal, Taurel said the pharmaceutical industry is "doomed" if it doesn't change the way it does business. He explained to analysts this morning that he meant drugmakers need to tailor their products to small groups of patients, thereby improving their "value proposition" for health insurers, doctors and patients.

He also outlined to investors this morning how Lilly continues to construct a "network" of contract scientists, sales people and third-party firms to make itself more nimble and more efficient.

Taurel said Lilly has already trimmed its work force by 5,000 people - or 11 percent- since mid-2004, mostly through attrition. He argued that Lilly is keeping up with other drugmakers even though it has made no "splashy announcements" about cutting its work force.

New York-based Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. announced yesterday that it will trim 4,300 workers and close half its manufacturing plants by 2010.

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