Pfizer is planning to make more job cuts then originally expected as it continues a cost-cutting programme following the acquisition last year of Wyeth.

After the aforementioned $68 million purchase, the New York-based giant announced plans to reduce its workforce by 15% or over 19,000 jobs. By the end of the third quarter this year, around 18,000 posts had gone.

In May, as part of those cuts, Pfizer announced the loss of 6,000 manufacturing jobs and the closure of eight sites, three of them in Ireland. The company has also closed R&D sites and thousands of sales force posts have been eliminated.

Now, it seems even more jobs are to go as the weekend saw a number of news outlets pick up upon Pfizer's quarterly regulatory filing to the US Securities and Exchange. The firm limits itself to saying that “we expect to exceed our original 15% workforce reduction target".

Pfizer is giving no details as yet but the news is not a great surprise. The drugs major is facing a major patent cliff when Lipitor (atorvastatin) loses protection in the USA in a year's time and generic competition is already hurting the cholesterol-lowering blockbuster. Third-quarter sales of the drug fell 11% to $2.53 billion.