Pfizer has announced plans to cut 700 posts in France over the next year, either through layoffs or voluntary redundancies, though union officials are claiming that the figure will be higher than that.

Pfizer issued a statement saying that the reorganisation of the group in France will affect its Paris headquarters (200 cuts) and the sales force, which will be reduced from 1,200 to 700. The reduction in staff is a result of growing pressure on healthcare costs, the rising expense of developing drugs and weaker output from its R&D investments due to stringent regulations.

Gerard Bouquet, vice president of Pfizer France, told the Agence France-Presse news agency that "this new organisation will take effect from December 1, 2009," adding that "there will be no forced layoffs” before then.

However, Pfizer’s figures are being disputed by the CFDT union which was reported as saying that 892 jobs would be lost.