Gilead Sciences (GILD) is preparing to lay off approximately 20% of its sales force now that two of its older drugs have lost patent protection and face competition from lower-priced generics, STAT has learned.
The decision to cut 150 long-tenured sales people — confirmed by a Gilead spokesperson — is being explained internally as an unfortunate but necessary cost-cutting move. But to some Gilead employees, the firings are another worrisome sign that the company’s executive team, led by recently appointed CEO Daniel O’Day, is struggling to find ways to grow revenue and earnings.
The employees affected work in Gilead’s cardiopulmonary sales division, which currently markets two products: Ranexa, for chronic angina, and Letairis, for pulmonary arterial hypertension. U.S. patents protecting the market exclusivity of both drugs expired. Gilead has already warned investors that sales derived from the drugs will fall with generic copies entering the market.