Life Sciences Insight

J&J Announces Additional Layoffs as Medtech Employees Brace for More

Medtech might not be as recession-proof as initially thought.

Johnson & Johnson has announced another round of restructuring and employee layoffs that could eliminate at least 1000 jobs. The reorganization includes folding its Mitek sports medicine business into J&J’s trauma and extremities organization, and moving shoulder reconstruction to its joint reconstruction section, according to Rajit Kamal, outgoing worldwide president of sports medicine and shoulder reconstruction for the company.

“I am very confident that the new structure will drive focus and synergy to enable growth for both our sports medicine and shoulder reconstruction business,” he wrote in a LinkedIn post addressing the change.

Multiple other company units have also announced cuts. Auris Health, a surgical robotics firm, will be cutting 292 positions. Verb Surgical, a maker of medical equipment for J&J, is laying off 47 people. C-SATS, an artificial intelligence software provider for surgeons, is cutting three positions. Lastly, Ethicon Endo-Surgery, an advanced surgical tools provider, will be cutting four jobs. The layoffs within the four units are expected to occur around April 30.

In an anonymous comment posted on the website The Layoff, one person wrote of the Auris layoffs, stating that there was no communication about the layoffs as they were occurring.

Unit layoffs come in the wake of their acquisition by J&J and seem to be part of what the company described as its Medtech R&D and Innovation operation, Amanda Wade, head of human resources in the J&J Medtech R&D and Innovation unit, stated in separate WARN letters submitted for each of the four companies.

“This action is expected to be permanent, and is the result of a business decision to reduce staff at this location,” she said.

This is the second announcement from the company in 2023 announcing layoffs. In late February, J&J’s consumer unit announced it would be laying off 57 employees at its Greenfield plant in Pennsylvania which, according to Lancaster Online, was set to be decommissioned by fall of this year.

Other medtech businesses have also joined the concerning trend in recent months. Venus Concept, a manufacturer of medical aesthetic devices will be cutting its global workforce by about 18%, or 70 employees; Baxter announced it would shed nearly 5% of its workforce in a cost-saving measure; and Vicarious Surgical is eliminating about 14% of its staff.

An anonymous comment left on the The Layoff gave an inside look on what’s allegedly happening behind J&J’s closed doors.

Last week, one commentor wrote, “I was informed yesterday of ‘restructuring’ of Johnson & Johnson’s MedTech company. My job is gone, as well as the majority of the people on a software development project that was ongoing for over [two to three] years and involved people from all over America, Europe, and East Asia. We saw the writing on the wall when they ‘froze’ contractors a few weeks back. The reaper has returned for thousands more. Good luck out there!”

As a whole, it seems like medtech employees are bracing themselves additional layoffs as the year progresses.

In a conversation almost a month ago between two anonymous commentors on The Layoff about the state of the industry. They wrote, “Heard there will be a shake-up in medtech, many projects frozen, on hold currently, no 2023 budgets locked in place yet, etc.”

“Exactly,” the other commentor replied. “Don’t take my word for it, but I think cuts [in] medtech are inevitable. The only question is how far are we from those layoffs?”

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