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250 UK jobs axed as Pfizer downsizes

 Pfizer’s UK salesforce is likely to be in the front line following the company’s decision to slash more than 250 jobs from its workforce.

A Pfizer spokesman said the jobs would be cut by reducing the number of traditional sales and head office roles, as well as by closing regional offices.

The spokesman would not reveal how many sales personnel the company currently employs – or how many would go – calling it “commercially sensitive information”.

However, it is widely thought the majority of the redundancies will be made from the salesforce sector of Pfizer’s UK operations.

Pfizer has blamed the downsizing on the Department of Health’s concerted effort to cut medicine costs by the increased use of older, cheaper generics, in particular, the switch for the majority of UK patients to generic statins. This policy has had a marked effect on profits of its blockbuster anti-cholesterol drug, Lipitor.

This has caused Pfizer to reconsider the number of roles required to support the UK business, the spokesman added.

The UK redundancies form part of Pfizer’s decision to cut the whole of its European field force by more than 20%. Again, the company’s spokesman would not reveal the existing number of its salesforce and how many people would lose their jobs, saying: “We are still in negotiations and any details regarding this consultation process are confidential.”

Europe’s job cuts follows Pfizer’s decision to axe 10,000 jobs worldwide – 10% of its total workforce – by the end of 2008, a move designed to save it $4 billion.

Pfizer’s chief executive Jeffrey B Kindler stated: “We are facing significant challenges 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 we see in the marketplace.”

Kindler added that apart from stripping down its global field force, the company will close three R&D sites in the US Ann Arbor, MI, Esperion also in Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo MI. It is also proposing to close research sites in Amboise, France and Nagoya, Japan.

Dr John LaMattina, head of Pfizer’s global R&D, said: “Our simplified structure will help drive the growth of our expanding pipeline, including our goal to deliver more new internally generated products per year by 2011, while maintaining current R&D investment levels.”

Following Pfizer’s announcement, shares in Pfizer on the New York Stock Exchange fell by 1% to $26.95.


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