Unlike every other Big Pharma company in the world, Novartis ($NVS) tends to prefer to communicate rather selectively when it chops a facility here or winnows out its ranks over there in its global structure. Specifics on the secretive Basel-based company tend to leak out through local reports, if at all, with releases targeted at publications specifically located in the area where the ax is falling. And Novartis rarely explains itself or adds detail where a simple, dismissive remark will do.
Confronted by the corporate stone wall, an enterprising reporter at Switzerland's Tages-Anzeiger tallied up 3,000 job cuts Novartis has announced at various sites around the globe over the last 4 months. Close to 1000 of those jobs are being axed in Europe; half in the corporation's Basel home. There's the 400 or so confirmed layoffs in its Horsham, U.K., R&D site, not to mention some 170 consultants, often overlooked when job losses are added up.
Then there are 760 positions being eliminated in the U.S., with the reductions largely focused on sales reps, largely due to Novartis' concentration on therapies used in hospitals, which require fewer marketing people. And on the manufacturing side, the numbers-conscious Novartis has either closed or reduced some 20 facilities since 2010, looking for maximum efficiency at all its production centers.
It's not over yet. In conversations with analysts, company officials have specifically cited pharma R&D, where the company spends about $7 billion a year, as a likely source of additional spending cuts. For a company that likes to ruthlessly hunt down and eliminate any excess or waste, as it concentrates R&D in three key hubs, the global reorganization appears to be far from over.
Just don't expect Novartis to tell the global media.