Pfizer Outlines Plan for Plant Closures and Staff Reductions

May 20, 2010
Patricia Van Arnum
ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Pfizer (New York) announced this week plans to reconfigure its global manufacturing network as part of its integration following its $68-billion acquisition of Wyeth (Madison, NJ) in 2009.

Pfizer (New York) announced this week plans to reconfigure its global manufacturing network as part of its integration following its $68-billion acquisition of Wyeth (Madison, NJ) in 2009. The implementation of the first phase of Pfizer’s plant network strategy includes recommendations to cease operations at eight manufacturing sites in Ireland, Puerto Rico, and the United States by the end of 2015, as well as to reduce operations at six other plants in Germany, Ireland, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, and the US. These changes will result in a global reduction of approximately 6000 jobs during the next several years.

“The restructuring of our global plant network is critical to our efforts to remain competitive so that we can continue to meet patient needs and expand the access and affordability of our medicines,” said Pfizer Global Manufacturing President Nat Ricciardi, in a company press release. “…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 so that we can position Pfizer for the next phase of growth acrossbiopharmaceuticals and our diversified business portfolio.”

Pfizer plans to discontinue manufacturing operations over the next 18 months to 5 years at three solid-dosage sites that manufacture tablets and capsules: Caguas, Puerto Rico; Loughbeg, Ireland; and Rouses Point, New York. Wyeth had announced in 2005 that it would exit and sell the Rouses Point site. Pfizer also plans to phase out pharmaceutical solid-dosage manufacturing in Guayama, Puerto Rico, and that site will expand its consumer healthcare operations. Reductions are planned at two other solid-dosage facilities in Illertissen, Germany, and Newbridge, Ireland.

Two aseptic facilities that make sterile injectable medicines are targeted for exit: Dublin, Ireland, and Carolina, Puerto Rico. Pfizer also plans changes to its biopharmaceutical manufacturing network. The company plans to exit operations in Shanbally, Ireland, and Pearl River, New York. The Pearl River site, however, will remain Pfizer’s Center of Excellence for vaccine research and development (R&D). Biotechnology plants in Sanford, North Carolina, and Andover, Massachusetts, and Havant, UK, are expected to see reductions.

Pfizer plans to cease production of consumer healthcare products at its plant in Richmond, Virginia, but consumer healthcare R&D will continue in Richmond. Pfizer said that R&D jobs in both Pearl River and Richmond will be unaffected by the planned manufacturing exits.

The timing of specific exits will depend upon the complexity of operations, the amount of time required for product transfers, and other business requirements, said the company. These requirements include compliance with all local legal and regulatory obligations, including the obligation to inform and/or consult with labor organizations, works councils, trade unions, and employee representatives.

Pfizer Global Manufacturing currently operates 78 plants internationally with a workforce of approximately 33,000. In outlining the changes to its manufacturing network, Pfizer also summarized what its transformed manufacturing network will be. Pfizer’s solid-dosage network will include plants in Freiburg, Germany; Amboise, France; Vega Baja and Barceloneta, Puerto Rico; Ascoli, Italy; Newbridge, Ireland; and Illertissen, Germany. Its aseptic manufacturing network will consist of plants in: Puurs, Belgium; Perth, Australia; Catania, Italy; and Kalamazoo, Michigan. Its biotechnology manufacturing network will consist of sites in Grange Castle, Ireland; Strangnas, Sweden; Algete, Spain; Havant, UK; Andover, Massachusetts, and Sanford, North Carolina. The consumer healthcare network will include plants in Guayama, Puerto Rico; Montreal; Albany, Georgia, Aprilia, Italy; Hsinchu, Taiwan; and Suzhou, Jiangsu, China.

Evaluations of Pfizer’s animal-health manufacturing sites are 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.