Bristol-Myers Squibb is the latest drugmaker to announce major lay-offs and reports suggest  that 3% of its global workforce could be cut.

It has been widely reported that some 840 people out of its 28,000 staff could go in the next six months. The company has not given any specific figures but said that it has "strongly embraced the business philosophy of continuous improvement, a component of which is organisational streamlining".

B-MS spokeswoman Sonia Choi told the Associated Press that the cuts could be spread across all the firm's businesses and geographic locations. The affected employees were informed at the end of last week.

The last few years have seen B-MS continually trim its organisation. In December 2008 it would eliminated 800 posts in a bid to save $1 billion by 2012 and those cuts came on top of an announcement a year earlier that 4,300 jobs would go, bringing in savings of $1.50 billion.