GlaxoSmithKline to cut jobs, restructure marketing operations in Africa

GlaxoSmithKline said Wednesday that it is reducing its workforce and restructuring its operations in several countries in Africa. Specifically, the company indicated that it will end all marketing and promotion to healthcare professionals in 29 sub-Saharan markets but did not clarify how many jobs would be eliminated in the move. 

The drugmaker stressed that patient access to drugs will not be affected by the restructuring, adding that it plans to maintain local operations in Kenya and Nigeria, while its South African business, managed by Aspen Pharmacare, will continue. GlaxoSmithKline also indicated that it plans to keep offices in Ghana and Ivory Coast. 

Former CEO Andrew Witty had previously announced plans to invest up to 130 million pounds ($180 million) in the continent in an effort to add at least 500 jobs to its existing business. The drugmaker explained that the decision to restructure its African operations follows plans last year to create a new model for its emerging markets business.

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The news comes after GlaxoSmithKline announced last July that it planned to eliminate more than 30 clinical and preclinical drug development programmes and consider strategic options for its rare diseases unit, as it looked to improve the efficiency of its pharmaceutical business. Meanwhile, a recent report revealed that chief executive Emma Walmsley has replaced about 50 top executives since taking over as CEO last year. 

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