Bristol-Myers Squibb announced Tuesday that it is cutting itsworkforce worldwide by 5,000 over the next two years,bringing the total number of jobs that have been eliminated inthe pharmaceutical industry in the past year to 32,250,according to figures compiled by the PharmaceuticalManufacturers Association (PMA).

In October 1992, the company announced it was cuttingapproximately 6 percent of the employees in itspharmaceutical and nutritional groups worldwide. PMA said2,200 jobs were eliminated in this cut, which went into effectin the first quarter of 1993.

Bristol-Myers currently has 51,000 employees worldwide, ofwhich 24,600 are in the U.S. Of its total workforce, 30,000people are employed around the world by the company'spharmaceutical group, including 12,000 in the U.S. Bristol-Myers does not have a breakdown of how many jobs will becut domestically vs. internationally.

The 5,000 people who will lose their jobs include 1,500 whoelected to retire in 1994 under the company's voluntary earlyretirement program for U.S.-based employees, which wasannounced last September. Approximately 2,800 employeeswere eligible for the program and about 53 percent elected toparticipate.

Employees aged 50 and older who worked at the company atleast 10 years were eligible to retire with enhanced pensionbenefits calculated by adding five years to their age and fiveyears to their length of time at the company.

Bristol-Myers (NYSE:BMY) said it was "restructuring to align itsbusiness with the changes taking place in the globalmarketplace and to improve its overall competitiveness."

The company's manager of corporate public affairs, TonyCarter, added that the company has to reduce costs and be"flexible and efficient" to be competitive. Bristol-Myers of NewYork had sales of $11.2 billion and earnings of $1.9 billion atthe end of fiscal 1992.

The company said it is organizing its U.S. sales force into 12regional business units. Its four European regions are beingdisbanded, and the existing 11 business units in Europe willnow report to one office in Europe that will function as theheadquarters.

According to PMA, 13 pharmaceutical companies haveannounced layoffs since October 1992, including Syntex (1,600jobs by 1995), Searle (2,250), Ciba-Geigy (600), Rhone-PoulencRorer (400), Merck (which offered early retirement to 2,100),Marion Merrell Dow (1,300), Johnson & Johnson (3,000),Bristol-Myers Squibb (7,200 total), Eli Lilly and Co. (4,000),American Cyanamid (2,500), Pfizer (3,000), Upjohn (1,500) andWarner-Lambert (2,800).

Biotechnology companies cutting jobs during the past yearincluded Centocor Inc., which laid off its 190-person U.S. salesforce last February after halting a Centoxin Phase III trial;Synergen Inc., which cut 10 percent of its 670 employees; SciosNova, which eliminated 44 positions; and Somatogen Inc., whichcut 24 positions.

-- Brenda Sandburg News Editor

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.