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Fall From Grace: BioSpace (DHX) Readers Sound Off On Novartis AG (NVS) And Other Pharma Layoffs

7/18/2014 12:25:24 AM

Fall From Grace:  BioSpace Readers Sound Off On Novartis and Other Pharma Layoffs
July 18, 2014
By Linda R. Bernstein, Pharm.D., Exclusive Story

“This industry has a taken a serious fall from grace. Good luck to those affected,” one BioSpace reader commented.

When it comes to layoffs, emotions run high and our readers have made their views known. The general consensus is one of sympathy for the people laid off and disgust for this disturbing trend within the pharma industry by people that have already lost jobs and by those in fear of losing theirs in the future.

A recent BioSpace exclusive story reported on the June layoffs at Novartis and the possibility of further job cuts in September and November. The reasons behind these and other industry lay offs include a growing trend toward outsourcing, reorganization, and a shift away from internal research and development programs. The following are highlights from the many comments we received.

Commenter 1: I worked at Novartis until they outsourced to India.

Commenter 2: Baxter is doing the same thing now. Outsourcing to India. Hundreds were "impacted" this year—"impacted"— gotta love this [expletive] politically correct term. So gentle on your soul... U.S. politicians, wake up and fight for America!

Commenter 3: Large pharma companies can no longer afford to invest in research and development. They now acquire products from small scale, very specialized, R&D firms (or buy the firms out to acquire the products) then use their scale up and manufacturing skills to bring the product to market. It definitely seems to be the trend to take the cost and risk of R&D out of the big pharmas and pass it onto the little guys.

Commenter 4: Such a common theme. Not sure what to tell up-and-coming life scientists about employment anymore. Pharma is a very turbulent world to operate in.

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Commenter 5: Pharma today is competing in a far more crowded market with bio-similars and biotechs growing everywhere, changing the R&D paradigm, alongside a complex, compliant heavy sales model. With fewer potential products in the pipeline generally, all pharma are having to pull their belts in to remain profitable. These aren't charities—they are commercial organizations with shareholders and they need to work more efficiently. Making workers redundant doesn't necessarily mean the jobs are going overseas—it can mean that they are just trying to work leaner and with a lower cost base. I feel for those that are being laid off but pharma is not the business to go into if you want a job for life—but then, does that exist anymore anyway?

Commenter 6: TEVA has done their share of layoffs and closing entire plants to save 2 billion dollars. So far I have survived.

Commenter 7: Sounds like what Eli Lilly did a few years ago. I was one of the 5,500 that got laid off. It was brutal.

Offers from other companies have come in for those laid off:

Commenter 8: Come join Regeneron...we are kicking Novartis' and Genentech's [expletive]. We are looking for talented medical, regulatory, and clinical expertise.

Commenter 9: Novo Nordisk pharmaceutical is expanding and hiring. Jobs are listed online at our website.

It appears that a lot of people in the pharma industry are nervous about the future. Time will tell whether this trend will continue as more jobs are outsourced and more companies are making the decision to go lean rather than go under.

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