Updated from 1:25 p.m. EST

GlaxoSmithKline

(GSK) - Get Report

plans to cut thousands of positions, according to reports in two newspapers.

The

Sunday Telegraph

said GlaxoSmithKline would cut up to 6,000 jobs. The

Observer

gave a larger figure at 10,000.

According to

The Associated Press

, a GlaxoSmithKline representative said the company was undergoing restructuring but declined to comment on specifics. The company recently announced that

Eli Lilly

(LLY) - Get Report

executive Deirdre Connelly would become Glaxo's president of North American pharmaceuticals division in early February.

Compounding the effects of a worsening economy for large drug makers like Glaxo is the impending onslaught of generic versions of cash-cow drugs.

AstraZeneca

(AZN) - Get Report

said it would cut 15,000 by 2013, and

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, which recently entered a

deal

to buy

Wyeth

(WYE)

for $68 billion, also has announced plans to substantially reduce its workforce. Rival

Sanofi-Aventis

TICKER TYPE="EQUITY" SYMBOL="SNE" EXCHANGE="NYSE" PRIMARY="NO"/> also is reportedly preparing to make acquisitions, according to the

Financial Times

.

Few in the drug industry seem immune to the bugs that have taken hold of an economy that's left the sector ripe for consolidation and deal-making. On Friday, Swiss pharmaceutical company

Roche

launched a

hostile bid

for

Genentech

(DNA)

. And

Teva Pharmaceuticals

(TEVA) - Get Report

recently announced a

deal

with

Lonzo Group

to make and market copies of biotech drugs, otherwise known as biosimilar drugs. Biosimilars are, naturally, a threat to biotech companies like Genentech,

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

and

Biogen Idec

(BIIB) - Get Report

.Glaxo shares were down 0.4% to $35.11, not far from the stock's 52-week high of $35.24.