As part of its ongoing global restructuring, AstraZeneca has announced that 132 jobs are to be cut at its Spanish operations.

A spokesman for AstraZeneca told PharmaTimes World News that the firm has been involved in talks with working committees in order to help the affected employees. The cuts are required despite a strong growth performance in Spain in 2007 but “a number of internal and external environmental changes” have forced the firm to “secure a competitive position for the future”.

Specifically, Philippa Rodriguez, president of AstraZeneca Spain, noted that the company has been impacted by a royal decree last year “which has reduced the legitimate expectation of data protection of our medines”. This has allowed the earlier entry of generics compared to other European countries.

Also changes put in place by the government to reduce spending on pharmaceuticals has had a financial impact on AstraZeneca in Spain and Ms Rodriguez said that a 4.2% cut in 2005, 2% in 2006 and the introduction of the Medicine Law last year has forced the firm to be “even more strategic in managing the future of the business in Spain”. She added that improved data has provided “greater clarity” on local sales versus those sales that come from parallel trade, so “a more appropriate alignment of resources has been required”.

The problems that AstraZeneca’s late-stage portfolio has had of late is another factor. Ms Rodriguez said “we were hopeful our pipeline would bring some new products to the market but we have had a few setbacks over the past three years”. She added that “there are some exciting prospects in the future but in the medium term, we have to focus on the strength of our current portfolio”.