Pfizer has unveiled plans to cut its workforce in Spain by 11%, or 220 staff, driven by the financial crisis in Europe and regulatory moves in the country to reduce its healthcare spend.

The business newspaper Expansion has reported that the USA-based behemoth will present an expediente de regulation de empleo (ERE - opening the process of redundancies) which will apply to its administrative and sales forces teams. However, employees at Pfizer’s production facilities in Madrid and Olot (Girona) will not be affected.

A Pfizer official was quoted by Expansion as saying that the reasons for the cut are the financial woes being suffered by Europe as well as increasing costs of the Spanish healthcare system. The company is also concerned about new legislation passed by the central government and autonomies to push more generic use, as well as changes to the reference pricing system.

The news from Spain comes a week after reports that Pfizer is cutting more than 500 jobs in Germany, again as a result of changes in pricing regulations.

Noting that changes in its business in France are also in the pipeline, Pfizer spokesperson Lisa O'Neill told PharmaTimes World News that the proposed moves are "a result of regular business planning and the previously-announced global operational excellence initiative".

'Challenging business environment'

She added that "the challenging business environment across Europe with macroeconomic uncertainty, pricing pressures and increased regulatory demands, alongside changing customer expectations and the loss of exclusivity of certain brands" means the firm "has to operate even more efficiently and effectively". Ms O'Neill concluded by saying that "Pfizer’s priority is to support and wherever possible mitigate the impact on colleagues affected by these proposed changes".