Pfizer ($PFE) will close a couple of plants in the U.K., with more than 370 jobs on the line, but the U.S. company wants everyone to know that its exit from the U.K. has nothing to do with the U.K.’s exit from the EU.
Drugs giant Pfizer has announced plans to close two of its three key UK supply sites, but insists the decision has nothing to do with Brexit.
According to media reports, the firm's manufacturing site in Park Royal, London, as well as its global cold chain packaging and distribution facility in Portsmouth will be closed in 2017 and 2020 respectively, with around 370 job losses in total.
"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," explained a spokesman for the firm, as reported by The Telegraph.
"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".
Pfizer sold its flagship UK facilities in Sandwich, Kent, back in 2012, but around 700 of its employees remain employed at the Discovery Park science and business hub which is now housed there, and it still currently employs around 2,700 people at sites across the country.
The company will close a legacy Hospira aseptic services plant at Park Royal in North London, probably by next May, the company said in an emailed statement today. While 100 jobs are being cut there, a spokesperson said that workers are expected to have a shot at a “limited number of positions elsewhere within Pfizer.”
It also will wind down operations at a Pfizer cold-chain packaging and distribution site in Havant in the south of England by the end of 2020. It said there are 270 people currently work there and that Pfizer, where possible, will mitigate jobs losses tat that plant.
The company said the decision followed a review of its supply needs and specifically pointed out it had nothing to do with the changing economic and political situation there. “It is important to note that these proposals are in no way related to the result of the Brexit decision,” Pfizer said.
The U.K. earlier this year voted in favor of leaving the European Union, bringing concerns that some drugmakers might flee the country. U.K. based AstraZeneca ($AZN) and GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) have both assured leaders there they intend to stay put. GSK has even announced about $360 million in investments in plants there.
The $15 billion buyout of sterile drug maker Hospira last year has boosted the New York-based company’s top line but Pfizer has been rejiggering its production and distribution networks since the deal to also help its bottom line. That has led to planned closure of a number of plants in the U.S. and job losses there.
Pfizer will trim legacy Hospira logistics centers in Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles and King of Prussia, PA, by Q2 2017 and cutting 104 jobs with those closures. Another 100 jobs will be lost by 2019 when Pfizer shutters a 50,000-square-foot Hospira manufacturing facility in Boulder, CO, that it has said is underutilized.
Pfizer is also in the process of offloading Hospira’s pumps and devices business, a unit that falls outside the scope of its traditional drug business.