Boehringer Ingelheim has announced plans to cut up to 600 jobs in Germany as part of a bid to shave around 450 million euros, or 15%, of off business costs in the country by the end of 2016.

The drugmaker said the cost-savings programme, dubbed ‘Journey’, comes “in response to the changing competitive and market environment”. In particular, tighter healthcare budgets in the US as well as ever-growing cost-containment measures in health systems across Europe are piling on the pressure.

Indeed, news of the move comes just weeks after it was reported that BI’s half-year sales had dropped 8% to 6.5 billion euros, primarily because of currency effects and price reductions in the US, eating into full-year forecasts.

Nevertheless, company chairman Andreas Barner insists there are “good opportunities” for the firm long-term. For one, BI is gearing up for an unprecedented number of new product launches in the near future - potentially more than ten in the next two years - including nintedanib for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, the leukaemia drug volasertib and a biosimilar of Sanofi's diabetes blockbuster Lantus (insulin glargine).

Barner also stressed the German drugmaker intends to achieve its staff reduction target without lay-offs, turning to natural attrition, already-agreed retirements, and the expiry of temporary contracts instead.