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Pfizer Reveals Plant Closures

Downsizing: Five-year plan will eliminate 6,000 jobs worldwide

by Rick Mullin
May 24, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 21

As part of a reorganization of manufacturing in the wake of its 2009 acquisition of Wyeth, Pfizer plans to close eight sites in Ireland, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. The firm also plans to scale back operations at six other plants in Europe, the U.S., and Puerto Rico. The closures will result in the elimination of 6,000 jobs by the end of 2015.

The announcement follows a six-month evaluation of sites that manufacture aseptic or injectable drugs, solid-dose formulas, biotechnology medicines, and consumer health products.

“We have a tremendous global workforce and some of the best manufacturing facilities in the industry,” says Natale S. Ricciardi, president of Pfizer Global Manufacturing. “But we must continue to adjust to the fast-changing and extremely competitive environment in which we operate. That means realigning our network and reducing our manufacturing capacity.”

Pfizer says it will close three solid-dose sites over the next 18 months to five years and that it will phase out solid-dose manufacturing in Guayama, P.R., but expand consumer health products manufacturing at that site. The firm will continue solid-dose manufacturing at several locations, including Freiburg, Germany; Newbridge, Ireland; and Amboise, France.

In injectable drugs, Pfizer will close plants in Dublin and in Carolina, P.R. Plants in Puurs, Belgium, and Kalamazoo, Mich., are among those that will continue manufacturing injectables, according to Pfizer.

In biopharmaceuticals, Pfizer plans to exit plants in Shanbally, Ireland, and Pearl River, N.Y., and to scale back production in Sanford, N.C.; Andover, Mass.; and Havant, England. Pfizer says it is studying a reorganization of its animal health manufacturing operation and expects to announce changes by the end of June.

The timetable for the closures, according to the company, will depend on the complexity of operations and the amount of time necessary to transfer production to other sites. Pfizer says it will seek to divest plants slated for closure in order to preserve jobs.

The job cuts are part of the overall 15% reduction of a 128,000-people-strong workforce that Pfizer estimated would result from the purchase of Wyeth. Pfizer currently operates at 78 plants around the world and has a manufacturing workforce of about 33,000 people.



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