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The MedZilla Report for November 2009 - Healthcare Employment Up, And No Major Bad News for Pharma, Either

Healthcare employment continued to rise the U.S. in November, even as the overall unemployment rate edged down slightly. Additionally, there were no unexpected major job cuts in the pharmaceutical industry.

(Vocus) December 17, 2009 -- November was a relatively good month for pharmaceutical job losses - which is to say, there were no major unexpected layoffs announced all month. The biggest news in that area was related to the Pfizer acquisition of Wyeth. Meanwhile, healthcare employment continued rising in the U.S., adding 21,000 jobs, and the American unemployment rate edged downward overall.

Pfizer's purchase of Wyeth meant that 450 people were downsized, all of them from the New Jersey research plant previously owned by Wyeth. Additionally, Pfizer planned to close six of their own research facilities as the two companies merged (Asbury Park Press, Nov. 9, 2009). Otherwise, the only pharmaceutical-related job cuts announced in November were from the closing of a biotech factory in Minnesota that was purchased in 2008 by Genmab, a Danish company (The Business Journal, Nov. 7, 2009). "Despite being troubling for those affected by the layoffs, this is overall a good sign for the pharmaceutical sales industry," said Dr. Frank Heasley, president and CEO of, the internet leader in pharmaceutical and healthcare job postings. "Through much of 2008, we saw large swaths of people laid off, especially in the sales area. It appears that companies have tailed off the downsizing of sales associates."
More good news on the pharmaceutical sales front came from MedZilla's monthly assessment of posted jobs; in November, there was an increase of more than six percent in job postings for sales representatives across all medical professions - pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and healthcare - and an overall increase of 5.6 percent in marketing and product development postings. Clinical research postings also increased by more than seven percent. The rate of postings fell off in Massachusetts and New Jersey, the latter likely because of Pfizer's closing of the research plant formerly owned by Wyeth.
In addition to the increase in posted jobs, companies also spent more time in November searching for qualified sales representatives - an increase of almost two percent. However, it was the state-by-state numbers that were most notable in that regard; three areas (Washington, D.C.; North Carolina, and Ohio) all saw companies based in those locations increase their candidate searches by more than four percent, and four other states had significant jumps as well over October's numbers. Meanwhile, companies in California, New York, and Massachusetts backed off their candidate searches in November. The candidate pool for sales representatives was also more active in November, searching for jobs in that field almost 2.5 percent more than in October. Only New Jersey's job seekers showed significant change on a state-by-state basis, slowing their search activities by more than one percent.

Of note to those already in pharmaceutical sales or looking to become re-employed in that field is PhRMA's new push for a universal safety symbol for social media advertising of pharmaceuticals. Many pharmaceutical companies already advertise online using traditional banner ad placements, but Eli Lilly's senior director of U.S. regulatory affairs said that internet advertising rules as a whole in regard to pharmaceuticals are so ambiguous that her company has not fully explored the idea of using social media to bolster sales (AdAge, Nov. 12, 2009).
"A symbol in and of itself isn't a bad idea," said Dr. Heasley, "but people who use social media are very aware of what is advertising and what is not, and the symbol could actually lead to a drop-off in clicks on sponsored tweets or status updates."


Established in mid-1994, MedZilla is the original and leading web site to serve career and hiring needs for professionals and employers in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medicine, science and healthcare. The MedZilla jobs database contains about 7,500 open positions. The resume database currently contains over 285,000 resumes with 16,800 less than three months old. These resources have been characterized as the largest, most comprehensive databases of their kind on the web in the industries served.

Medzilla® is a Registered Trademark owned by Medzilla Inc. Copyright ©2009, MedZilla, Inc. Permission is granted to reproduce and distribute this text in its entirety, and if electronically, with a link to the URL For permission to quote from or reproduce any portion of this message, please contact MedZilla, Inc. at press(at)medzilla(dot)com

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