GlaxoSmithKline is preparing to let its US staff know about hundreds of job cuts plans as part of a restructuring plan unveiled six weeks ago designed to save £1 billion within three years.

The cuts come as the drugs major’s sales in the vital US respiratory market continue to fall. In the third quarter, GSK’s biggest-seller Advair (salmeterol and fluticasone) for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, fell 13%, while its new COPD drug Breo (fluticasone furoate/vilanterol) contributed just £15 million to GSK's coffers. Anoro (umeclidinium bromide/vilanterol) brought in only £1 million.

A variety of sources have told PharmaTimes that an announcement concerning the scale of the cuts is imminent and staff will be consulted in the next few days. The new COPD launches have not gone as well as the company had hoped and pressure from insurers across the Atlantic on price is hitting Advair hard.