2.3k Eli Lilly employees accept buyouts

More than 2,300 employees at Eli Lilly's U.S. operations accepted voluntary buyouts, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal.

On Sept. 7, pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly announced it would eliminate 3,500 positions worldwide by Dec.31, including 2,500 positions in the U.S., to generate $500 million in annual savings. The drugmaker said most of the cuts would come in the form of a voluntary early retirement program.

While many eligible employees opted for the buyout, Eli Lilly is still a couple hundred positions short of its goal of cutting 2,500 U.S. jobs, leaving questions about whether the company will turn to layoffs.

This is the largest single workforce reduction for Eli Lilly since 2009, when it cut 5,550 jobs worldwide.

In addition to announcing the job cuts in September, the company also said it would close a drug plant in Iowa and its research and development offices in New Jersey and China. It is not clear if these closures will help the drugmaker reach its goal of eliminating the 3,500 global positions.

"In addition to the U.S. voluntary early retirement program, the company will determine where it needs to further reduce costs and improve efficiencies," Mark Taylor, Eli Lilly's spokesman, told the Indianapolis Business Journal.  "Remaining positions will come from other anticipated workforce reductions, including select site closures outlined on Sept. 7 as well as consolidation of some work to existing shared service centers."

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