Lundbeck headquarters

Denmark-based Lundbeck has announced plans to slash its European sales force, citing the tough economic climate and generic competition to its antidepressant Cipralex / Lexapro.

The pharmaceutical company has revealed that approximately 600 jobs will be lost as it looks to restructure, with Lundbeck also blaming healthcare reforms and uncertainty regarding pricing and reimbursement within Europe.

The loss of patent protection of its antidepressant Cipralex, sold by Forest Laboratories in the US as Lexapro, has had a significant impact on the company’s sales.

Sales of Cipralex fell by four percent in Q1 2012 to DKK1.47bn ($250.34m), whereas sales of Lexapro experienced a 55% decrease to DKK336m ($57.21m).

"Lundbeck’s restructuring plans come just as the company hopes to transition its European product portfolio."

Lundbeck’s restructuring plans come just as the company hopes to transition its European product portfolio with a number of new therapies that are expected to launch in the coming years.

Among the new products expected to launch is Selincro, a treatment for alcohol dependence, and Lu AA21004, a new antidepressant co-developed with Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

Ulf Wiinberg, Lundbeck president and chief executive, said: "The market environment in Europe is changing rapidly at a time when Lundbeck has numerous new products to launch. To ensure a successful transition of our product portfolio in Europe we need a more flexible commercial infrastructure and to maintain cost control."

The total cost of the restructuring within Europe is expected to reach DKK500m ($85.1m), and job losses at all of Lundbeck’s European subsidiaries will contribute towards the total cull of 600.

Image: Lundbeck’s corporate headquarters, located in Valby, Denmark. Photo courtesy of Lundbeck.