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Pfizer to close 8 sites, cut ops at 6 more; 6,000 jobs to go

By Nick Taylor , 19-May-2010

Pfizer plans to close eight manufacturing sites and reduce operations at a further six by the end of 2015, leading to 6,000 job losses, as part of its reorganisation after acquiring Wyeth.

Buying Wyeth swelled Pfizer’s manufacturing network to 78 sites, having aimed pre-takeover to have 41 facilities in 2010, and details of the expected cuts have now been released. As well as reducing overall capacity and overheads the cuts reflect increased interest in biologics at Pfizer.

Of the sites to be closed, three, in Caguas, Puerto Rico; Loughbeg, Ireland; and Rouses Point, New York, US, manufacture solid-doses. Furthermore, solid-dose is to be phased out at a site in Guayama, Puerto Rico and reduced at plants in Newbridge, Ireland and Illertissen, Germany.

Pfizer believes these cuts will eliminate excess capacity, making supply more closely aligned with demand, and give it the efficient production network needed to support its growth in biologics.

However, despite increased focus on biopharm, Pfizer is also making cuts to its vaccine and large-molecule network. Sites in Shanbally, Ireland and Pearl River, New York, US are due to close and Sanford, North Carolina, US; Andover, Massachusetts, US; and Havant, UK face cuts.

Aseptic production facilities in Carolina, Puerto Rico and Dublin, Ireland are also due to close and consumer healthcare manufacturing will be eliminated from Richmond, Virginia, US. The closure of the Pearl River site will also reduce consumer healthcare capacity.

Product transfers from the affected sites will lead to the expansion of the roles of a number of other production sites. Also, the site in Guayama, where solid-dose is being phased out, will expand its consumer healthcare operations.

Making the cuts

Pfizer plans to close the sites by 2015 and this, coupled to reductions at other facilities, will result in 6,000 of its 33,000 manufacturing employees being laid off. Timing of exits depends on operational complexity, the period needed for product transfers and other business requirements.

Attempts will be made to divest the sites but Pfizer warned that the success of this will depend on a number of factors, such as present demand for pharma manufacturing facilities. In the past divested sites have had supply agreements to ensure Pfizer receives products for several years.

Pfizer is also evaluating its animal health manufacturing sites, with recommendations expected in June, and will also begin assessing its nutrition and emerging markets plant networks later this year.

Recommended Site Exits:

• Caguas, Puerto Rico (solid-dose)

• Carolina, Puerto Rico (aseptic)

• Dublin, Ireland (aseptic)

• Loughbeg, Ireland (solid-dose)

• Shanbally, Ireland (biotechnology)

• Rouses Point, New York, US (solid-dose)

• Richmond, Virginia, US (consumer healthcare manufacturing targeted for exit; R&D operations to remain in Richmond)

• Pearl River, New York, US (proposed exit of biotechnology and consumer healthcare manufacturing; vaccines and biotherapeutics vaccines R&D will remain active at this site)

Recommended Plant Reductions:

• Guayama, Puerto Rico (phase-out of pharmaceutical solid dose operations planned; volume increases in consumer healthcare)

• Newbridge, Ireland (solid-dose)

• Andover, Massachusetts, US (biotechnology)

• Sanford, North Carolina, US (biotechnology)

• Havant, UK (biotechnology)

• Illertissen, Germany (solid-dose)

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