Downsized pharma jobs not coming back?

It’s pretty well known that the pharmaceutical sector is in a lot of trouble, job-wise. Granted, this is not my area of expertise, so I will leave the thoughtful commentary to people like Derek Lowe, Chemjobber and of course Carmen Drahl and Lisa Jarvis at the Haystack, but I just wanted to bring your attention to something that came past my eyeballs earlier in the week (on twitter, via @carmendrahl) from a place called 24/7 Wall St.

The Ten American Industries Which Will Never Recover

5. Pharmaceuticals. This industry has bled workers for three years, and that trend is likely to continue. The largest companies in the sector, such as Pfizer and Merck, have a number of blockbuster drugs that have lost their patent protection in the last decade. They have other pharmaceuticals that will lose that protection in the next decade. Sales of most of these drugs will move to generic companies that will sell them for far less, and erode critical revenue sources for the huge pharma firms. Most companies in the industry admit that they cannot replace the drugs that go “off patent” fast enough to keep their revenue high. The other reason employment in the sector will stay down and may drop further is that big drug companies are merging to save costs and most of those costs are people. Pfizer has cut 30,000 people since the start of the recession. Merck has cut 25,000, and these companies and their peers expect that they will have to bring down costs even more.

The whole list can be found here.

So. Is this true? Is the trouble in the pharma industry not just due to the recession? Hopefully, this topic will be discussed by more people whose expertise I trust. If it hasn’t already and I’ve just missed it, that is.

(I don’t know much about 24/7 Wall St, except for what it says on the “About Us” page, and I’m kind of reluctant to trust a news and/or analysis organization that makes multiple grammatical errors. If they’re not careful about something simple like that, what else are they not careful about? “About the Editor’s”? Come on. “The Ten American Industries Which Will Never Recover” I’m willing to forgive, since the ‘which versus that‘ decision can be tricksy. But a misplaced apostrophe? Don’t they teach that in second grade?)

Anyway.

I would also like to call attention to a blog post by editor-in-chief Rudy Baum asking for feedback on C&EN’s career coverage, and to reiterate the need for reader feedback. If you’re unhappy with things you read in CENtral Science or C&E News, please let us know. (Or if you like what you read, let us know that too). Thanks.

Author: Leigh Krietsch Boerner

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