Pfizer has announced plans to “reconfigure its worldwide plant network” which will result in the loss of 6,000 manufacturing jobs and the closure of eight sites, three of them in Ireland.

Six other plants will see reductions in headcount as a result of the cuts which is “the culmination of an intense half-year evaluation of sites” since the US behemoth acquired Wyeth. The 6,000 figure forms part of the 19,000 jobs Pfizer said it would be eliminating after its $68 billion acquisition of the latter.

Pfizer global manufacturing president Nat Ricciardi said the restructuring “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”. He added that “we have a tremendous global workforce and some of the best
manufacturing facilities in the industry…but we must continue to adjust to the fast-changing and extremely competitive environment in which we operate”.

The “site exits” are scheduled to take place to discontinue manufacturing operations over the next 18 months to five years at Caguas and Carolina (both Puerto Rico) Dublin, Loughbeg and Shanbally (all Ireland), plus Rouses Point in the USA, which Wyeth had already decided to divest back in 2005. Consumer healthcare manufacturing will end at Richmond, Virginia and Pearl River, New York (no biotech products will be made at the latter either) but R&D jobs at the two facilities will be unaffected.

Pfizer added that "in an effort to preserve jobs and minimise the impact to communities", it will explore opportunities to divest plants. It added that "success will depend upon a number of market factors", notably demand for manufacturing facilities and Mr Ricciardi said "we are keenly aware of the impact these types of changes have on employees and their families. We will provide support to our colleagues who lose their jobs".

The plants that will experience reductions are Guayama (Puerto Rico), Newbridge (Ireland), Andover and Sanford (USA), Havant (UK) and Illertissen (Germany). Pfizer presently operates 78 manufacturing plants with a workforce of some 33,000.