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Hundreds may lose jobs in AbbVie layoffs

Abbott Laboratories located 1400 block Sheridan Road  North Chicago.  | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media

Abbott Laboratories located in the 1400 block of Sheridan Road North Chicago. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 16, 2013 2:05AM

Layoffs of hundreds of workers at AbbVie Inc., a North Chicago pharmaceutical company, are imminent, according to news reports.

Abbott Laboratories warned late last year that layoffs would follow in the wake of its AbbVie spin-off, which culminated on Jan. 2.

The new AbbVie sells Abbott’s proprietary drugs, including Humira, its popular rheumatoid arthritis medication, which is expected to do $18 billion in sales this year.

AbbVie spokesperson Adelle Infante on Tuesday, April 16, declined to comment on any forthcoming layoffs, but she did point to increasing competition.

The company’s cholesterol medicine TriCor has faced generic competition since late 2012, she said.

“Other products in our cardiovascular franchise will lose patent exclusivity later this year,” Infante said.

According to Bloomberg News Service Bloomberg, will furlough employees who make sales calls to physicians to sell medicines for which patents are about to expire and that will face increased competition from generic drugs. Patents on another of the company’s cholesterol medications, Trilipix, also expired last fall.

Abbott laid off 550 workers late last year, including 100 in the Chicago area. It employed about 13,000 people in Lake County before splitting into two independent companies with two different investment identities.

AbbVie is a research-based specialty bio-pharmaceuticals company that develops an array of medicines in the fields of immunology and virology and a “pipeline of breakthrough therapies.

The 125-year-old Abbott, which reported $22 billion in revenue in January, specializes in the development of diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals and branded generic pharmaceuticals.

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