Coffin-Carrying French Protest Bristol-Myers Squibb Layoffs

Feb 06, 2014

Wall Street Journal

Over 2000 people, including BMS employees, held a colorful protest as U.S.-drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb threatened to layoff employees at two French factories in response to the French government's plans to support wider use of cheaper generic versions.

Mask-wearing protesters carried a coffin labelled "BMS" through the streets of southern France in mid-January.

French Socialist President François Hollande aims to fix the country's healthcare woes, and reduce the deficit by cutting drug costs. His plan may backfire, however, as critics point out that cost cutting methods will cause manufacturing plants to transfer jobs out of France to countries that offer cheaper labor.

Bristol-Myers Squibb has two factories in Agen, France, where it manufactures a range of paracetamol painkillers.

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