Wyeth’s cost-cutting measures are moving on apace with the news that the firm is laying off some 1,200 of its sales representatives in the USA.

The job cuts form part of Wyeth’s "Project Impact," which will see the firm reduce its 50,000-strong workforce by 4% to 6% by the middle of this year, and by 10% over the next three years. The restructuring has been deemed necessary by the generic threat to the big-selling antiulcerant Protonix (pantoprazole) and Wyeth’s recent problems in getting drugs to market.

The company recently pulled its European application for Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) to treat hot flushes, while a Phase III trial of the bowel drug methylnaltrexone missed its primary endpoint.

Wyeth has been working on cutting its reps for some time and in 2005 it reduced its full-time, US primary-care sales force of 2,500 reps by 25%-30%, while at the same time hiring part-time reps, resulting in a net reduction of some 15%.