Lilly layoffs pare communications department

June 21, 2010

The communications department at Eli Lilly and Co. is the latest to face the company’s jobs ax.

The giant drugmaker is in the process of trimming 35 percent—or about 19 people—from its 55-person communications staff. Most of that staff is based in Indianapolis.

That communications team pushes out Lilly’s messages about its corporate business, its numerous drug products, directives from its executives and internal employee messages. They also field inquiries from reporters and stock analysts.

The communications employees who lose their jobs will be eligible to apply for open positions within Lilly. But, with the company moving to cut 5,500 positions worldwide by the end of 2011, open jobs are limited.

Lilly is providing outplacement and job-search help to all employees who lose their jobs and do not find new ones at the company.

The restructuring of the communications staff will be completed by mid-July, said Lilly spokesman Ed Sagebiel.

Lilly is reducing its work force in an attempt to cut $1 billion in annual expenses before patent expirations on its bestselling drug, the antispyhotic Zyprexa.

The $4.8-billion-a-year drug will face competition from cheaper generic versions beginning in October 2011, which will probably sap about 80 percent of its sales.

Since Lilly announced the planned job reductions in September 2009, it has trimmed employees in laboratory research, sales, marketing and manufacturing—including the transfer of the manufacturing plant in Lafayette to Germany-based Evonik Industries AG.

Lilly updates its progress on the job cuts once a quarter. In April, it said it had cut 1,500 jobs so far. The company will provide another update in July.

More details about Lilly’s restructuring plan can be found here.


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