Canada lost more than 3,600 pharma jobs in H2 2010

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Canada lost more than 3,600 pharmaceutical jobs in the second half of 2010 as domestic and export sales slowed.

Pharmaceutical manufacturing in Canada, and other established markets, has been hit by recession, emerging market competition and industry-specific challenges. Lay offs and closures followed and, although there has been some market improvement, recovery has been slow.

The recession ended more than a year ago, but the global recovery has been slow​”, said Michael Burt, associate director, Industrial Economic Trends at the Conference Board of Canada. Growth predictions for 2011 to 2015 were made in a report into Canadian manufacturing​.

Burt said it will take several years for the production, profitability and employment of Canadian manufacturing industries, including pharmaceuticals, chemicals and plastics, to fully recover.

Canadian pharmaceutical profits are expected to increase slightly in 2011 but industry pressures, such as emerging market competition and governmental fiscal restraint, will continue to restrict growth.

Despite these challenges the report says the fundamentals of the pharmaceutical industry remain solid because of demand from aging populations. Innovative approaches will be needed for Canadian companies to maintain a share of this market.

Jérôme Nycz, senior vice president, strategy and corporate development at the Business Development Bank of Canada, says manufacturers need to maintain margins while moving up the value chain.

One way for companies to improve operational efficiency and product development is to make innovation an integral part of their strategies. As an example, managers need to promote innovative thinking at all levels of their organisations​”, said Nycz.

Idle plant

A Canadian manufacturing facility bought by Stirling Pharma in March 2010 is currently idle, according to The Cape Breton Post. Stirling bought the plant through the bankruptcy proceeding of owner Keata Pharma.

They haven’t announced anything or said to anyone in the community that they are closed, so this may be temporary​”, said Councillor Gordon MacLeod. Upon visiting the facility MacLeod found the doors were locked.

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