Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline added to job woes in the sector today as it upped cost saving targets amid fears it plans to axe 4,000 roles.
The news comes a week after AstraZeneca revealed it was cutting another 8,000 jobs worldwide, on top of 12,600 job losses already made.
GSK is aiming to slash annual costs by a further £500m (€573m) within two years, but said it would “try to preserve jobs”.
“As before, we will not be providing targets for job reductions and we will announce restructuring outcomes once employees, relevant works councils and trade unions have been consulted,” it said.
The news came as Glaxo announced a 12% rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £8.7bn (€10bn) for 2009, up from £7.8bn (€8.9bn) in 2008.
Global demand for swine flu treatment and vaccines helped it return to annual sales growth for the first time since 2007, with turnover ahead by 16% to £28.4bn (€32.5bn).
The group, which employs 99,000 staff across the world, has operations in Dublin, Waterford and Cork.
It is not yet known whether the Irish workforce will be affected.
In November, it was announced that up to 250 jobs are to go in Sligo with the closure of Stiefel Laboratories, which was bought by GlaxoSmithKline last July.
The decision was made after a global review by GSK found under-utilised capacity at the plant.
Stiefel Laboratories, which makes skin products, will be closed by the end of 2013, by which time production of all products is being transferred to alternative facilities.