Commercial Pfizer's Cost-Cutting Measures Impact UK's Sandwich Site, Leading to...

Pfizer’s Cost-Cutting Measures Impact UK’s Sandwich Site, Leading to Job Loss for 500 Employees

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Earlier this month, Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant, extended its cost-cutting endeavors beyond its domestic borders, reaching Ireland. Subsequently, Pfizer declared its intention to implement significant job reductions in the United Kingdom.Pfizer is poised to eliminate around 500 positions and discontinue its Pharmaceutical Sciences Small Molecule (PSSM) capabilities at its facility in Sandwich, Kent, in the UK as confirmed by a spokesperson. 

These layoffs are identified as a consequence of Pfizer’s comprehensive cost realignment initiative, which was disclosed in mid-October. The Sandwich site, however, will not be shuttered under the existing plan, and other functions will persist albeit with an altered scale. Currently, the facility employs approximately 940 individuals.

Local news outlet Kent Online previously reported Pfizer’s proposal to cease all laboratory and manufacturing activities at the Sandwich site, which holds historical significance as the birthplace of the discovery of Viagra. During the pandemic, Pfizer invested £10 million in advanced manufacturing technology at this plant to expedite the development of COVID-19 drugs, according to Kent Online.

In an email, Pfizer’s spokesperson emphasized the company’s pride in its breakthrough scientific legacy in the UK and affirmed that a scientific presence would be maintained in the country, particularly at the Discovery Park location in Sandwich.

Apart from the PSSM division, Pfizer has employees at the Sandwich site involved in medical and safety, regulatory, and clinical development and operations roles. The spokesperson asserted that despite potential proposed changes, the site would persist in Sandwich.

Pfizer did not provide clarity on the timeline for the implementation of these layoffs. These workforce reductions are part of Pfizer’s broader initiative to cut $3.5 billion in annual costs by the end of 2024, reflecting the uncertainties surrounding future sales of key products such as the COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty and antiviral Paxlovid.

This recent round of layoffs follows a prior reduction of 100 employees at one of Pfizer’s manufacturing plants in Newbridge, Kildare, Ireland. These workers were engaged in the production of Pfizer’s oral COVID medication, Paxlovid.

Before that, Pfizer had announced the elimination of approximately 200 positions at its site in Kalamazoo, Michigan, following a review of the demand for its COVID-related products. Additionally, Pfizer has confirmed plans to close its facility in Peapack, New Jersey, in early 2024. Of the almost 800 affected positions, the majority will be relocated to Pfizer’s headquarters in New York.

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