Wyeth and Purdue Announce Restructuring Plans

Wyeth and Purdue Announce Restructuring Plans

Following Pfizer’s (New York, NY) lead in April, Wyeth (Madison, NJ) and Purdue Pharma (Stanford, CT) announced restructuring plans that will result in the downsizing of their workforces.

Doug Petkus, spokesperson for Wyeth, told Pharmaceutical Techechnology this Wednesday that the company will transition its primary care sales force, now staffed with full-time sales representatives, to a combination of full-time and flextime employees. The cuts are expected to affect approximately 30% of the full-time sales force.

“The marketplace is changing,” Petkus said. “Primary care physicians have not been receptive to a typical mode of detailing, which in our case would be multiple visits from similar representatives from the same company talking about the same product. Repetition wasn’t providing an environment to deliver important information, and the receptivity was less than optimal at best.”

Under the new sales force structure, part-time employees will handle sample drops, allowing full-time sales representatives to focus on the actual product being discussed. “This new paradigm is something that we feel will make Wyeth more effective and will lead to more receptivity by our customers,” Petkus said.

On June 10, Purdue Pharma President and CEO Michael Friedman told employees that the company would downsize its workforce in response to the loss of patent protection for the pain medication OxyContin.

“This is the most painful decision I have had to make in my 20 years at Purdue,” Friedman said in a meeting with employees. “But we are left with no other options, given the drop in revenues that we are projecting. However, Purdue has a culture of caring for its employees, and we will be offering generous severance packages to those whose jobs are eliminated.”

Neither Purdue nor Wyeth has released figures regarding how many positions will be cut, but Purdue expects the downsizing to affect nearly 50% of its US workforce.

–George Koroneos