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136 Jobs to go at Little Island Pfizer, Cork

Capacity from the Little Island plant will be moved to Ringskiddy - company blames patent expirations

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Ian Guider
12:05 Wednesday 15 May 2013

136 jobs are to go at Pfizer in Cork.

The pharmaceutical giant has two plants in the county - the company says they're consolidating those operations, moving manufacturing at the Little Island plant to Ringskiddy.

It's understood workers were called into a meeting at 9.30 this morning.

Last year, the company shed 177 jobs in Cork.

Pfizer Vice President, Paul Duffy, spoke to Cork's Red FM:

Pfizer has been in Ireland since 1969 and employs more than 3,000 people at plants in Cork, Dublin, Kildare and Limerick.

Pfizer statement

In a statement, Pfizer has confirmed they are seeking a buyer for the Little Island plant after deciding to relocate manufacturing of medicines from there, to Ringaskiddy, next year.

The company says the move forms part of its global efforts to better align manufacturing capacity following a drop in demand caused by patent expiration on some medicines.  No other sites in Ireland are affected by this announcement today.

“Pfizer has been reviewing its global manufacturing network and capacity in response to changing global demand as a result of patent expiry of a number of key medicines and the need to achieve greater efficiencies in our manufacturing,” said Dr Paul Duffy, Vice President, Pfizer.  “Ireland remains a key strategic location for Pfizer with extensive operations in Cork, Kildare and Dublin.  The proposed relocation of these medicines to Ringaskiddy is necessary for our Irish operations as we strive to further enhance our ability to compete even more effectively in a changing global pharmaceutical market.”

Pfizer's statement says, "The Little Island site is a leading active ingredient manufacturing facility and 136 colleagues are employed at the site.  It is proposed that Pfizer will exit the Little Island site in 2014 and will explore opportunities to divest the site, in conjunction with state investment agencies.  Success would depend on a number of market factors including demand for pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities."

“This recommendation is not a reflection of performance, it is driven by the changing business environment.  Little Island has an excellent reputation and has won many awards in the areas of quality, safety, operational excellence and innovation,” said Seamus Fives, Site Leader, Little Island and Ringaskiddy sites.

“This is a very difficult time for colleagues affected who deserve recognition for the great contribution they have made to manufacturing some of Pfizer’s leading medicines,” he added.  “However, patent loss means that we must now compete with generic equivalents and generic manufacturers.  The manufacturing operating environment has become much more challenging and greater competitiveness is needed so that we can continue to play a strong role in the manufacture of Pfizer’s new and off-patent medicines.”

Pfizer employs approximately 3,200 people at six sites in Ireland across manufacturing, shared services, treasury and commercial operations.  Pfizer has invested $7 billion in operations in Ireland since opening the first site in 1969 and recently announced a $200 million investment in the Grange Castle site to develop a new suite to expand the Irish manufacturing process for an invasive pneumococcal vaccine.  Many of Pfizer’s leading medicines are manufactured for global export from Irish sites. 

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Ian Guider

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Newstalk Business Editor, Ian presents Business Breakfast every weekday from 6:30-7am

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