PHARMACY

Lilly cuts 500 jobs in Indianapolis location

BY Diana Alickaj

INDIANAPOLIS In an attempt to cut costs, Eli Lilly and Co. announced plans Friday to cut 500 more jobs in Indianapolis, according to published reports.

The job cuts would amount to 4 percent of the workforce in Indianapolis, reducing the number of employees to 12,000 from the 14,236-employee peak in 2004. Although, rather than laying off workers, the company has offered buyouts mostly to employees who are close to retiring; specifically, machine operators, technicians, plant engineers and research and development workers.

According to published reports, Lilly has outsourced 40 percent of its information technology, 20 percent of its manufacturing and about 20 percent of its U.S. sales to cut company costs. In a larger scope, Lilly has cut 4,800 jobs worldwide since 2003. These efforts are in reaction to losing patent exclusivity rights for its top-selling drug Zyprexia, which will expire in 2011, but the company remains adamant that it will not lay off workers if they don’t accept the buyouts.

Linda Bannister, a drug analyst for Edward Jones in Des Peres, Mo. said of the job cuts that, “What we’re seeing across the whole industry is companies doing cutting and restructuring in an effort to become more competitive.”

The company stated that about 430 of the cuts will come from its manufacturing operations and about another 70 from research and development operations, although Lilly states that it will keep its factories in Indianapolis open.

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Analysis shows pain reduction for fibromyalgia patients using Lyrica

BY Diana Alickaj

CHICAGO A pooled analysis presented at the annual Academy of Neurology meeting reports that Pfizer’s Lyrica reduced pain in patients with fibromyalgia, whether or not they experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression.

The results were determined by analysis of data from three clinical trials that used a placebo as a control ranging from eight weeks, to 13 weeks and finally 14 weeks in more than 2,000 patients that had fibromyalgia. According to published reports, they also studied different dosages given to patients and where asked to measure their pain from a scale of zero to 10. The analysis confirmed that pain reduction was the greatest change in patients who used the drug regardless of whether they still had feelings of depression or anxiety.

According to published reports, Fibromyalgia is the most common, chronic pain condition in the United States, and patients who have it usually experience symptoms of poor sleep, stiffness and fatigue.

According to Dr. Lesly Arnold, one the authors of the study and associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, “The data showed that Lyrica reduced fibromyalgia pain, and alleviating that pain was associated with patients’ overall feeling of well-being. Understandably, many patients with a chronic pain condition, such as fibromyalgia, also experience depression and anxiety, and importantly we found that Lyrica helped reduce pain in patients regardless of the presence of symptoms of these co-morbid conditions.”

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NACDS urges Congress to refrain from adopting e-pedigree mandate

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. New federal legislation to require that pharmacies and drug wholesalers establish electronic pedigrees for every drug they sell or distribute would throw both industries into turmoil and add “extraordinary” costs to their operations, the head of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores warned Thursday.

The Safeguarding America’s Pharmaceuticals Act of 2008 was introduced Thursday by Reps. Steve Buyer, (R-Ind., and Jim Matheson, D-Utah. If passed and signed into law, the bill would mandate electronic pedigree requirements to assist in the tracking and tracing of prescription drugs in the domestic supply chain.

NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson responded quickly to the proposal. “While instances of drug counterfeiting may occur,” he said, a federal e-pedigree mandate is the wrong approach.

“Despite the perception that e-pedigree and track and trace mandates are quick solutions, their adoption and implementation would be extremely complex and costly for retail pharmacies and others in the supply chain, and without the desired benefit,” Anderson asserted. “These systems are many years away from full development, have not been fully tested and lack uniform standards and patient privacy safeguards.”

There are alternatives to assure a safer drug supply as the industry gears up for e-pedigrees, Anderson added. Among them: adopting tougher uniform federal licensing standards for drug distribution and using the Food and Drug Administration to certify that manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies follow secure supply-chain guidelines.

“These steps would go a long way in improving safety and further protecting the supply chain by building on effective systems currently in place,” Anderson said.

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