Wyeth becomes latest drugmaker to cut jobs

MADISON, N.J. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals plans to cut up to 5,000 jobs in the next three years in hopes to make its operations more efficient and to reduce costs, according to published reports. The company currently employs 50,000.

"The company has a major priority to become more efficient and decrease costs in order to invest in its business and facilitate growth," spokesman Doug Petkus said. "Nothing is etched in stone, and it is premature to discuss how many or which positions may be affected or how the reductions will be achieved."

Wyeth now joins a list that includes Novartis, Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb who have stated that they intend to cut jobs over the next few years. Wall Street analysts blame the industry's current struggles on the loss of revenue companies face when their top-selling medicines go off patent as the reason for the cuts in the workforce.

Wyeth is facing patent challenges for two of its biggest drugs, Protonix and Effexor. The drugs combined are worth over $5 billion to Wyeth in sales.

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