Novartis AG yesterday announced major restructuring plans of its US operations that include cutting 1,960 jobs, just ahead of the patent loss of top-selling blood pressure drug Diovan.
The Basel-based pharmaceutical giant is the latest in a long line of global drugmakers to cut its workforce as the industry faces patent losses and high cost of failed clinical studies.
Novartis, which in September will lose the US patent of its top-selling blood pressure drug Diovan, will cut around 330 employees from its US headquarters, the majority of whom are based in East Hanover, while the remaining 1,630 field sales positions around the US will be eliminated.
The cuts represent about 1.6 per cent of Novartis's global staff. The changes will take effect in the second quarter of 2012 and bring in savings of $450 million a year starting in 2013.
The present cuts come after Novartis last October slashed around 2,000 jobs in the US and Switzerland.
Novartis said that the action reflects impending loss of Diovan patent exclusivity in US and expected impact on worldwide sales of hypertension pill Rasilez/Tekturna after altitude study termination. Diovan generated around $6 billion in sales in 2010.