Glaxo moving 2 units to N.J.

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GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare this week began a series of employee layoffs as part of a restructuring that also includes moving its weight control and smoking cessation groups from Moon to Parsippany, N.J.

Nine directors were let go and an undetermined number of employees are expected to be terminated by the end of the summer, said GSK spokeswoman Malesia Dunn. "Consumer Healthcare in the U.S. is undergoing a reorganization to better position the business for future growth."

Of the nine directors laid off this week, Ms. Dunn could not confirm how many are based in Moon, which is the North American headquarters for GSK Consumer Healthcare.

GSK Consumer Healthcare employs about 1,200 throughout the United States, including 500 at the Moon offices, 400 in Parsippany, and 300 in field sales.

Roger Scarlett-Smith, who became president of the North American consumer business in May, briefed employees in Moon on the reorganization early this week before leaving on business to the United Kingdom.

The consumer division of the British-based pharmaceutical giant makes and markets more than 30 health and personal care brands, including Tums antacids, Contact cold medicine, Breathe Right nasal strips and Aquafresh toothpaste.

The weight control group -- which markets Alli diet pills -- and the smoking cessation group -- which includes the NicoDerm, Nicorette and Commit products -- are being merged into one business called "behavioral sciences," which will be based in Parsippany. Research-development and innovation teams that work on those brands are already based in Parsippany, said Ms. Dunn. "So those folks will have a better opportunity for collaboration and coordination under one roof."

It makes sense to combine weight loss and smoking control, Ms. Dunn said, because, "Frankly, there are a lot of similarities in the behavior required to lose weight and stop smoking. It's not like you just pop the pill and the weight disappears or that you put on the patch and quit smoking."

Karen Scollick, a vice president currently based in Moon who was formerly general manager of GSK Consumer Healthcare's Canadian business, has been named to head the behavioral sciences group in Parsippany.

Some other employees in Moon may be offered positions in Parsippany as part of the restructuring, but the company has yet to determine how many, Ms. Dunn said.

Among the major brand operations that will stay in Moon are oral care products, including Aquafresh, Sensodyne, Polident, Poligrip; and other over-the-counter products, including Tums, Citrucel and FiberChoice.

GSK's consumer brands accounted for about $2 billion of the company's $45 billion in global sales last year. The majority of GSK's business is prescription pharmaceuticals and vaccines, which make it the second-largest drug producer in the world behind Pfizer Inc. It has 100,000 employees worldwide.

Last month, GSK announced it was cutting 2 percent of its research and development staff, or about 350 workers, as part of a global reorganization. Those jobs are all part of the pharmaceutical division.


Joyce Gannon can be reached at jgannon@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1580.


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