It's been a tough few years for the pharmaceutical industry and for the workers employed within it. A dearth of new drugs and other business challenges have led many companies to make dramatic cutbacks in spending that have resulted in thousands of layoffs.
And the bloodletting isn't over yet. Analysts estimate that global drug maker AstraZeneca is expected to announce another 3,000 layoffs, when the company releases its annual earnings statement Thursday, The Sunday Times of London reports. The job cuts would be part of the company's ongoing cost-reduction program begun in 2010.
The company declined to comment for the report, the Times said.
London-based AstraZeneca employs about 61,000 people worldwide, including nearly 15,000 employees in the U.S. Two years ago, chief executive David Brennan said more than 10,000 jobs would be lost by 2014, the newspaper report noted.
AstraZeneca's cutbacks are being driven by the expiration of patents on some of its key drugs, including Crestor, a pill that treats high cholesterol, acid-reflux disease treatment Nexium and Seroquel, an antipsychotic medicine, industry-tracking news site Pharmalot reports.
Last month, AstraZeneca disclosed plans to eliminate 400 jobs in its commercial business and U.S. headquarters in Newark, Del., and 1,150 jobs from its U.S. sales force, according to Pharmalot.
Those cuts were described by a company official last month as part of the more than 10,000 planned layoffs announced two years ago.
News of the potential AstraZeneca layoffs follows news earlier this month that Swiss durgmaker Novartis AG plans to cut nearly 2,000 jobs in the U.S. this year, including more than 1,600 field-sales positions and 330 jobs at its headquarters in East Hanover, N.J.
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