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Pfizer announces massive worldwide job cuts and downsizing plans


New York, NY – Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced today massive restructuring plans that include the loss of 10,000 jobs and closure of numerous facilities around the world. No specific closings or layoffs in Canada were announced, but according to the company’s Canadian headquarters, any impact on operations here will be made public in the coming weeks.

“Pfizer is a great company with a great future,” said Jeffrey B Kindler, chairman and chief executive officer, in making the announcement. “We are facing significant challenges, however, in a profoundly changing business environment. I believe we must fundamentally change the way we run our company to meet these challenges and to take advantage of the diverse and attractive opportunities that we see in the marketplace.

The company says its first priority is to maximize both short- and long-term revenues, through a combination of supporting current major products such as Lipitor, Celebrex and Lyrica, and stepping up future research efforts in promising areas such as vaccines and antibodies in the biotherapeutics area. It also says it plans to launch two new externally sourced products each year, beginning in 2010.

The restructuring will result in a reduction of worldwide staff by 10%, or 10,000 people, by the end of next year. This will include cutting at least three to four layers of management in its pharmaceutical, R&D and manufacturing divisions, in order to simplify operations. It also plans to close manufacturing facilities in Brooklyn, NY and Omaha, NE. In addition, the company says it will pursue the sale of a third site in Feucht, Germany.

In research and development, the company says it is planning to close three research sites in the US – Ann Arbor, MI, Esperion (also in Ann Arbor) and Kalamazoo, MI (where the company will continue to maintain a large manufacturing and animal health presence) – and is proposing to close research sites in Nagoya, Japan and Amboise, France.

Its R&D organization will be simplified by consolidating each of the research teams focused on any given therapeutic area (TA) – currently distributed in multiple locations around the globe, in many cases – to one of four major sites. Each TA will be run by a single leader with more responsibility, authority and accountability, as well as more control over resource decisions. Pfizer says it plans to exit discovery research in gastroenterology and dermatology, but will continue to develop compounds already in the pipeline and to seek external opportunities in these areas.

“These and other actions will allow us to reduce costs in support services and ‘bricks and mortar’ and to redeploy hundreds of millions of dollars into the discovery and development work of our scientists,” said Dr John LaMattina, the head of Pfizer Global Research and Development.