Israel’s giant generic Teva Pharmaceuticals firm will fire  by the end of next year 5,000 employees around the world, including hundreds in Israel, as one of the “steps to accelerate the reduction of costs and to optimize its structure.”

Most of the layoffs will be outside Israel, said Teva CEO Jeremy Levin, who moved to Israel form the United States last year to head the company.

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The layoffs are expected to save the company $1.5 to $2 billion by the end of 2017, and part of the savings will be re-invested in the development of generic and specialty drugs.

Levin maintained  that the company is not suffering from financial problems. In New York, the company’s shares jumped 2 percent on news of the cutback in the workforce.

Teva’s stock was the darling of investors until five years ago, when the announcement of competitors’  generic drugs to replace Teva’s patented Copaxone drug, which treats  multiple sclerosis, drove the stock down by nearly 50 percent.

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