4. Johnson & Johnson

In July Johnson & Johnson took the axe to its pharma division in a bid to cut up to $750 million in costs. Included in the cuts was a plan to reduce the company's workforce by four percent, or almost 5,000 employees. According to J&J, the cuts are designed to improve the company's cost structure and ensure profitable growth in the coming years. While J&J plans plans to continue investing in new technologies, it faces some significant patent losses among its current therapies. In addition, both J&J and Amgen have been embroiled in the anemia drug safety controversey, which has impacted sales of the company's best-selling drug Procrit. Medicare, which spends more money on anemia drugs than any other pharmaceutical, recently decided to limit the amount of anemia drugs that it will reimburse for.

Two of J&J’s biotechs, Alza and Scios, bore the brunt of the cuts. Acquired for $12 billion six years ago, J&J is closing Alza's Mountain View facility and will lay off 600 workers. The pharma giant is also largely ending the R&D efforts at Alza, which had been structured to tweak the pharma giant's therapies. Scios--which markets Natrecor--has already seen the pink slips fly and more cuts are expected. Two other J&J companies working in medical devices are also expected to undergo significant restructuring, related primarily to the problems the company has been having in the drug-eluting stent market.

- see this release on the cuts

J&J Timeline:
J&J restructures pharma unit, laying off workers. Report
J&J: Natrecor study failed to reveal two deaths. Report
J&J makes big cuts at Alza and Scios. Report
Amgen, J&J win a round in anemia controversy. Report
Congress spotlights J&J stent ops. Report
J&J won't pursue broader uses of Procrit. Report
New rules limit use of anemia drugs. Report

4. Johnson & Johnson
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