US drugs giant Pfizer will shut two of its three manufacturing plants in the UK in the next four years, putting 370 jobs at risk.
The Park Royal site in London, which Pfizer inherited when it acquired Hospira in September, is earmarked for closure by May 2017, leaving 100 employees out of a job. The site takes liquid medicines and puts them into dosed vials, which are then sold to hospitals.
Pfizer’s global cold chain packaging and distribution site in Havant, in Portsmouth will shut by the end of 2020, with 270 job losses.
“These decisions have nothing to do with Brexit,” the spokesman said. “This review process has been going on since 2010 and the team just felt there were more production capabilities at the site in Belgium to support future demand and to ensure we can support the supply chain.”
She said consolidating operations at Puurs would help Pfizer leverage scale at the Puurs site, consolidate cold chain operations, and allows for greater network flexibility.
Park Royal, on the other hand, is an “aging facility which will require significant investment in the near future and the lease was up”.
Pfizer will retain a manufacturing site similar to that of Park Royal in south London, where some capacity will move.
Pfizer has long been a critic of the way drugs are reimbursed for use on the NHS, complaining that breakthrough medications take too long to reach UK patients or are often not paid for at all, because the cost is too high.
“The UK has a tricky commercial environment and doesn’t always link life sciences investment to the way patients use medicines, but this decision is not linked to Brexit or medicines access,” a spokesman said.
Pfizer said in a statement that the proposed decision to exit the sites was not a reflection of the “excellent work performed by our colleagues”.
“Our priority at this time is to support affected colleagues and where possible to mitigate against job losses resulting from these proposals,” the company said.
8 November 2016