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Stephanie Sutton was an assistant editor at Pharmaceutical Technology Europe.
Pfizer has begun implementing the first phase of its Plant Network Strategy, which will result in the loss of approximately 6000 jobs over the next several years.
Pfizer has begun implementing the first phase of its Plant Network Strategy, which will result in the loss of approximately 6000 jobs over the next several years. The strategy includes recommendations to cease operations at eight manufacturing sites in Ireland, Puerto Rico and the US by the end of 2015.
According to a press statement, the reductions will help to increase manufacturing efficiency and lower costs by "more effectively using resources and technology, improving plant processes, eliminating excess capacity and better aligning production with market demand".
"Today's announcement is very difficult to make because of its impact on our colleagues," Nat Ricciardi, Pfizer Global Manufacturing President, added in the press statement. "But we must continue to adjust to the fast-changing and extremely competitive environment in which we operate."
Over the next 18 months to 5 years, Pfizer plans to discontinue manufacturing at three solid dose sites: Caguas (Puerto Rico), Loughbeg (Ireland) and Rouses Point (NY, USA). The company has also targeted aseptic facilities in Dublin (Ireland) and Carolina (Puerto Rico) for exit, as well as its biotechnology plant in Shanbally (Ireland). Additionally, the strategy includes plans to cease the production of consumer healthcare products at its plants in Richmond (VA, USA) and Pearl River (NY, USA). The company also adds, however, that R&D jobs at both sites will be unaffected; the Pearl River site will remain Pfizer's Center of Excellence for Vaccine R&D and consumer healthcare R&D will continue in Richmond.
And the reconfiguring doesn't just end with plant closures; reductions are also likely to take place in Guayama (Puerto Rico), Newbridge (Ireland), Andover (MA, USA), Sanford, (NC, USA), Havant (UK) and Illertissen (Germany), primarily in solid dose and biotechnology operations.
The timing of specific exits will depend upon the complexity of operations, the amount of time required for product transfers and other business requirements. However, Pfizer has also said it will explore opportunities to divest plants to help preserve jobs, although success will depend on the present demand for pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities.
According to the press statement, evaluations of Pfizer’s animal-health manufacturing sites are also underway and recommendations are expected by the end of June. Studies of the plants in the company’s nutrition and emerging markets plant networks will begin later this year.