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(Reuters) - Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) plans to cut about 20 percent of its sales force for primary-care drugs, Bloomberg News reported, as the pharmaceutical company copes with the loss of a patent for top-selling cholesterol drug Lipitor.
The staff cuts will amount to about 600 sales people out of 3,000, and will begin this month, Bloomberg said, citing a person familiar with the matter.
In November 2011, Pfizer lost its patent in the United States for Lipitor, whose sales topped $10 billion a year. The company is working to lower costs as cheaper generic drugs have entered the market, taking away market share and revenue.
Pfizer spokesman MacKay Jimeson would not comment on the job cut numbers cited by Bloomberg, but said the company is "making changes in some segments of our field force to better match the future needs of the business."
Reporting By Lauren Tara LaCapra and Ransdell Pierson in New York