BASEL, SWITZERLAND – Novartis will be cutting close to 2,000 jobs in the US, in New Jersey, as the result of an expected fall in demand for a relatively new medicine and the expiry of the patent for another, the company announced Friday 13 January in Basel. The sales force will lose 1,630 jobs and another 330 will go in related administrative posts. Staff will be informed of the specifics in April and the job cuts will be made in the first half of 2012.
The restructuring that lies behind the job cuts will result in CHF160 million in exceptional charges in the first half of 2012 in addition to an exceptional charge of CHF900m in the second half of 2011 following a “reassessment of the future sales potential of Rasilez/Tekturna in light of the Altitude results”.
Preparations were underway to restructure the company’s general medicines business with the patent expiring for the hypertension market leading medicine Diovan (valsartan) in the US in September 2012. The restructuration is being speeded up, the company says, after Altitude clinical studies were recently called to a halt, ending trials for Rasilez/Tekturna (aliskiren), another hypertension drug.
Novartis notes that the
“study was halted following the recommendation from the Data Monitoring Committee overseeing the trial. The study was investigating Rasilez/Tekturna in a high-risk population of patients with type-2 diabetes and renal impairment. As a precautionary measure Novartis Pharmaceuticals ceased all promotion of Rasilez/Tekturna-based products for use in combination with an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB). Novartis Pharmaceuticals, in consultation with health authorities, is now recommending that hypertensive patients with diabetes should not be treated with Rasilez/Tekturna in combination with an ACE-inhibitor or ARB. Patient safety is the highest priority for Novartis and we are in continuing dialogue with health authorities worldwide to establish the most appropriate next steps.”
Novartis announced in November that it is cutting 1,000 jobs in Switzerland, some 350 of them in Prangins, near Nyon.