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K-V Pharmaceutical cuts 289 jobs

Wed, 03/31/2010 - 3:17pm
The Associated Press

K-V Pharmaceutical Co. said Wednesday that 289 workers lost their jobs as it cuts its work force by 42 percent.

The St. Louis-based company said it must manage its cash and financial resources as it continues to work with the Food and Drug Administration to return its products to market.

K-V stopped all manufacturing and shipping in January 2009 after a series of product recalls. The company said last week it does not expect to resume shipments until the fourth quarter of 2010 at the earliest.

"Despite this reduction in our work force, we believe we have retained the capabilities and the overall level of employees needed to effectively support our future re-entry into the market," said David Van Vliet, interim CEO of the company.

K-V is in the process of closing its Ethex generic drug unit, but said it may have to reduce operations even more to stay in business.

Last month, K-V pleaded guilty to charges it failed to inform regulators about manufacturing problems that caused some of its pills to be too large, which could have lead to accidental overdoses. It agreed to pay $27.6 million to settle government investigations into its business.

The FDA told the company to stop making some time-release drugs in 2008, but K-V did not comply, which led to millions of dollars worth of products being seized by the agency.

In late 2008 and early 2009, the company issued several recalls because of the oversized pills, and in January 2009 it shut down all manufacturing. Most of the recalled products were made by the Ethex unit, but some were made by its Ther-Rx specialty drug division.

Shares fell 47 cents, or 21 percent, to $1.76. They've traded between $1.11 and $5.36 in the past year.

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