Global Pharma Reduces Marketing Staff in India

21.03.2023 - As part of what seems to be a general pattern of staff reductions in the pharmaceutical industry worldwide, a growing number of Western drugmakers are downsizing their sales and marketing presence in India.

AstraZeneca is the latest major company to announce layoffs in the country, taking an axe to 103 marketing positions in its primary healthcare division through early retirement schemes, and reports say it is the only to have faced opposition.

According to Indian newspaper The Hindu, about half the affected staff, who argued the forced retirement violated the country’s labor laws mandating permission from authorities, were terminated, anyway.

The Anglo-Swedish firm told US trade journal Fierce Pharma that the cutbacks reflected its evolving strategic priorities.

Sanofi and Pfizer have also reduced India staff over the past year. The Reuters news agency said French pharma has offered retirement scheme to “hundreds of employees,” including a number at facilities operated by its Sanofi Healthcare India subsidiary that produce vaccines.

In 2022, both Pfizer and GSK reduced employment in India after digitizing some of their marketing structure, while Novartis cut staff after signing a distribution deal with Indian drugmaker Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories.

India is the world’s largest pharmaceutical market in terms of production and ranks 14th in terms of value according to figures published by Unimark Pharma. It specializes in generics as well as active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and vaccines.  

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist