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April 14, 2011
Total Pharma Job Cuts
Matthew Herper has the numbers, as tallied up by a consulting firm. Since 2000, there have apparently been about 300,000 layoffs in the drug industry. It's important to remember that a good number of those people have found other jobs in the business - I'm one of them. But there are a lot of people who haven't.
Those exact figures, and the balance between them, are something we'll probably never be able to get a good read on. But there's no way that everyone found a new position, and I don't see any way that new hires could have filled the gap, either. The total head count of the industry is down over this period - not hugely, but it's down, and it's not like we've cured a huge slate of diseases over the last ten years and put ourselves out of business that way.
As you'll see from Matt's table, 2009 seems to have been the absolute worst year so far, with 2010 still in second place. (And since those have come on top of all the cutbacks in prior years, it tends to make them seem even harder). I was one of the 15,638 laid off in 2006; several hundred of my colleagues helped to swell that total. But 2006, in retrospect, looks like an afternoon by the lake compared to what came after. . .
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