INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Eli Lilly and Co. said job cuts in its headquarters city of Indianapolis may total 500 positions by this fall, as the drugmaker carries out a broader cost-cutting strategy announced last year.
Lilly said there have been ongoing cuts at four Indianapolis locations, including its corporate headquarters, according to a letter sent earlier this week to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
The cuts are expected to be permanent. A company spokeswoman said the reductions are part of the plan announced last year.
Lilly said in September it would eliminate 5,500 jobs over two years and reorganize into five business units. That amounted to a work force reduction of nearly 14 percent, to 35,000 by the end of 2011 from the 40,500 it employed last year.
The maker of the anti-psychotic Zyprexa and the antidepressant Cymbalta employed 39,200 people at the end of this year's second quarter, a total that has dropped steadily for the past several years.
Company officials have said the new total excludes hirings in high-growth emerging markets and Japan.
Lilly and several other big drugmakers have been carrying out job cuts and cost-reduction plans as they prepare for the loss of patents protecting many key drugs in the coming years.
Lilly loses patent protection for its top-seller, Zyprexa, next year and its second-best seller, Cymbalta, in 2013. The company hopes to counter those losses with drugs from its own development pipeline, which includes potential treatments for cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease.
The company's stock fell 29 cents to $36.99 Wednesday afternoon. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped more than 2 percent.