- Confronted with market challenges in the U.S., Novo Nordisk intends to reduce its workforce there by about 250 as part of a larger resource reallocation plan meant to better position the company for long-term growth.
- The news, first reported by Reuters, comes less than two weeks after Novo said it would layoff 400 of its R&D workers in Denmark and China. The Danish drugmaker, best known for its diabetes business, employs more than 42,000 people worldwide.
- "Support and resources will be made available throughout this process and those affected will be given an opportunity to apply for open positions prior to leaving the organization," a company spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement to BioPharma Dive, adding that affected employees were informed of the job cuts on Sept. 27.
The problems facing diabetes drugmakers are well-documented. In the U.S. in particular, payers have a laundry list of effective treatments from which to choose, causing manufacturers to offer greater rebates to secure coverage.
Higher rebates, though, mean narrower returns.
Those market dynamics have started to take their toll at Novo. Net product sales in North America across the company's entire drug portfolio fell 10% year over year in Danish kroner during the first half of 2018. The drop was driven in part by a weaker performance from Levemir (insulin detemir), a long-acting insulin and one of Novo's top-sellers.
The intense competition isn't likely to let up either, pushing Novo and others in the diabetes space to fine-tune their businesses or risk additional hits to bottom lines.
Novo is "ensuring the company is positioned to achieve long-term, sustainable growth in the face of pricing and competitive pressures in the US," wrote the spokesperson in an email to BioPharma Dive.
"Equally important is our need to invest in our current and future portfolio that will continue bringing innovation to patients. As part of our planning process, we have been assessing resource needs against our business priorities. This is resulting in changes in the US organization, including a loss of jobs."
Layoffs have been a key piece of Novo's reorganization. Nearly 2,000 have been planned or taken place since September 2016 — and more may be on the horizon. A Danish financial newspaper in June reported that Novo was considering up to 3,000 layoffs, a claim Novo declined to comment on at the time.
Novo's not the only big pharma enacting job cuts, however. Just this month, GlaxoSmithKline confirmed it will be eliminating 650 R&D roles and Novartis announced it will be cutting more than 2,500 positions over the next four years, with the majority coming from manufacturing operations.