GlaxoSmithKline employees were scheduled to get some news Wednesday about how $1.57 billion in annual costs were to be taken out of the company budget. Layoffs are very likely.
The big number was announced in October, when London-based GSK reported third-quarter financial results. Slowing sales of its established (and top-selling) asthma drug, Advair, and slower-than-hoped immediate use of newer asthma medicines prompted concern.
North American pharmaceutical chief Deirdre Connelly, who works from the company's facility at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, was expected to address U.S. employees.
GSK has more than 1,000 employees at the Navy Yard, which was the site of a ceremony Tuesday to give $40,000 to each of nine Philadelphia-area nonprofit organizations. Not long after, President Obama visited a laboratory at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., where scientists are working on the first Ebola vaccine tested on humans. About 300 Philadelphia-area GSK workers are involved in that effort.
Other GSK groups are employed in Upper Providence, Upper Merion, Conshohocken, Marietta and Pittsburgh, along with Parsippany, N.J. Those facilities have employees from most divisions of the company and sales representatives work in this area.
About 4,500 GSK employees work in two North Carolina facilities, with one focusing on research and a smaller one that manufactures medicine. The company also has a small office in Boston. GSK had 99,451 employees worldwide at the end of 2013, according to its annual report.
Novartis and GSK signed a multi-billion dollar three-pronged deal in April that involved GSK giving Novartis its current oncology drugs in exchange for all but one of Novartis' vaccines, cash and the majority stake in a joint venture to sell non-prescription consumer products.
Though the U.S. pays the most for prescription drugs, the market is getting tougher for pharmaceutical companies to make the profits they once did. GSK CEO Andrew Witty is hoping that a narrower pharmaceutical division, along with vaccines and consumer products will translate into sustainable profits in a worldwide market.