AstraZeneca cuts jobs as FDA looks to improve drug safety standards

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has announced it was making additional cuts to it U.S. business sector workforce as the company braces for potential revenue losses when a number of its key drugs lose their patent protections. The announcement comes as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it wants to improve drug safety, cut healthcare costs and create more jobs.

AstraZeneca said it was cutting 400 jobs at its Wilmington, Delaware, headquarters as it faces increased competition from generic drug makers resulting from a loss of market exclusivity on its popular cholesterol-lowering treatment Crestor and a number of other high-profile brand name drugs. The company said the reductions will not affect its sales forces and workers at its manufacturing facility in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, FDA, the federal agency in charge of approving drugs for commercial use, has awarded a multi-million dollar grant to the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Technology and Education (NIPTE) to support drug discoveries and help bring more products to market faster.

The agency said the money could also help keep more jobs stateside by cutting drug manufacturing costs and reducing the need for outsourcing.