Pfizer's Sandwich research plant set to close

Published on 04 February 2011

US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has announced a plan to close its R&D site located in Sandwich, Kent with the potential loss of 2,400 jobs.


The closure is part of the company's re-organisation of its global research and development capability. UK Government ministers will be meeting with Pfizer, other companies and local representatives 'as a matter of urgency' to discuss ideas on continuing R&D activities at the site.

Pfizer had previously closed manufacturing activities at the site in 2007 but research and development activities had continued into allergy and respiratory drugs. 

Dr Ruth McKernan, SVP and site head said "Sandwich has an extremely talented workforce with a proud and rich history in science research and development.... This decision is no reflection on the site, the workforce or the operating environment in the UK..... It is hoped that we can retain this proud R&D heritrage through strategic partnerships in the future.

GSK chief executive Andrew Witty, is quoted as saying that GSK has no interest in purchasing the site but could be interested in employing Pfizer staff. He also believed that Pfizer's decision was a symptom of problems facing the pharmaceutical industry rather than the environment in the UK. "It's got everything to do with the pressure the industry is under, mostly from governments. Around the world you've got governments cutting drug prices, regularly trying to find ways to reduce exclusivity periods. Sooner or later all these different hits add up and companies have to react. I think there is a bit of a lesson there".

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