updated 10/8/2010 7:57:08 PM ET 2010-10-08T23:57:08

Sanofi-Aventis SA, the world's fourth-biggest drugmaker, says it is eliminating 1,700 jobs in its U.S. pharmaceutical business.

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That amounts to about 25 percent of the workers in the company's U.S. pharmaceutical business but only 13 percent of its total of 13,000 employees here.

Decisions on which employees will go are to be finalized by the middle of December.

The head of Sanofi's U.S. business, Gregory Irace, announced the plan to employees Friday morning.

It's part of an industrywide trend to cut costs as increasing generic competition limits revenue.

The company says the move will allow it to focus people and resources on key areas for the American pharmaceutical business — medicines for diabetes, cancer and heart problems that can lead to dangerous blood clots.

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