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AstraZeneca Will Cut 400 U.S. Jobs Amid Generic Drug Pressure

AstraZeneca Plc, the U.K.’s second-biggest drugmaker, plans to eliminate 400 positions in the U.S. as it prepares for competition from generic medicines.

AstraZeneca will cut the jobs at its Wilmington, Delaware, location along with some “field-based, nonsales roles,” the London-based company said today in a statement on its website. About 70 of the positions to be reduced will come from existing vacancies, the drugmaker said.

The company’s top seller, the cholesterol-lowering pill Crestor, will face added competition later this year after generic copies of Pfizer Inc.’s Lipitor come on the market. Crestor, which generated $5.69 billion in sales last year, will lose patent protections in the U.S. as early as 2016. The job reductions come atop 550 AstraZeneca announced for Wilmington last year.

The move is “part of the company’s strategy to operate its business more effectively and efficiently to best serve patients in the United States,” AstraZeneca said in the statement. “The changes will enable the company to compete in a challenging environment, including pricing pressures and the continuing growth of generic medicines.”

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