BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) — Belgian pharmaceutical maker Janssen-Cilag will eliminate 688 jobs, Belgian media reports said Tuesday, as its U.S. parent company Johnson & Johnson tries to cut costs as exclusive patent rights to top-selling drugs expire.
Belgian newspapers De Standaard and Le Soir cited trade unions saying that Janssen would cut 521 full-time jobs and 167 part-time posts from Belgian plants in Beerse and Geel on the orders of the New Jersey-based headquarters.
Janssen did not immediately respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment.
Janssen employs 4,723 people in Belgium with more than 1,000 working for the unit at other locations around the world.
Johnson & Johnson said in July it wanted to reduce its global work force by up to 4 percent — or up to 4,820 jobs — due to slumping sales of heart stents, its No. 2 anemia drug Procrit and looming patent expirations.
The health care giant, which employs about 120,500 people in 57 countries, said the restructuring — its largest ever — was triggered by ''short-term pressure'' and would make the company stronger.
The company faces shrinking revenue streams ahead as its top seller, anti-psychotic drug Risperdal, loses patent protection next June; Topamax, for epilepsy and other disorders, does so in March 2009.