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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007, 20:17 GMT
Bristol-Myers to cut 4,300 jobs
Bottle of Plavix pills
The patent on Bristol-Myers' blood thinner, Plavix, will expire soon
US drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb says it will cut its 43,000-strong workforce by 10% and close half of its 27 manufacturing plants to save $1.5bn.

The firm will also reduce the number of mature drug brands in its portfolio by 60% as part of a major restructuring.

The job cuts and plant closures will take place over several years.

The moves come amid lacklustre earnings for the firm in recent years due to patent expiration on the firm's important medicines.

But growing sales of the firm's newer medicines, such as schizophrenia treatment Abilify, and cancer drug Erbitux, should give the firm's future profits a boost.

Savings of $1.5bn from the new restructuring plans would be on top of previously announced savings of $500m by the end of 2007 and $100m on by the end of 2008 from other initiatives.

Analysts have been predicting that Bristol-Myers would close many of its plants and send production of its prescription medicines offshore, perhaps to nations like India and China that are increasingly involved in drug production.

The restructuring comes on the heels of aggressive cost-cutting moves by other drugmakers, including Merck & Co and Pfizer, which are also girding for patent expirations on their big drugs.

SEE ALSO
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