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335 Eli Lilly employees accept buyout offer from drug maker

May 12, 2008
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According to the Associated Press, a total of 335 Eli Lilly and Co. employees have accepted voluntary buyouts from the drug maker, and their jobs will end June 30, a spokesman said recently.

The employees had until Wednesday to accept the offer. Lilly also will reassign about 150 additional employees to different jobs as it streamlines manufacturing of the insulin products Humalog and Humulin and the osteoporosis drug Forteo.

The company announced last month that it was offering the buyouts, which it called a "voluntary exit program," to about 2,000 employees in central Indiana. Spokesman Phil Belt said productivity improvements were driving the cuts.

Lilly had planned to cut up to 500 jobs. The company expected about 430 manufacturing employees to take its offer and about 70 people in research and development. The number of employees who accepted the program fell well short of the 500 total, but Belt said that figure was a cap on the cuts, not a goal.

The buyout program included a severance package based on the employees'' length of service. Belt declined to offer more details.

Belt said the company will continue to try to improve productivity, but "there''s no formal program like this that''s pending or anything."

The drug maker employs about 12,600 people in central Indiana. Its worldwide employment stood at 40,300 as of March 31, down nearly 13 percent from 46,100 at the end of 2003.

Humalog ranked fourth among Lilly drugs with $1.5 billion in sales last year. Humulin notched $985 million, while Forteo took in $709 million.
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