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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2007, 15:40 GMT
250 drugs job cuts blamed on NHS
Pfizer office
Pfizer is cutting 250 UK jobs as part of a worldwide exercise
Drugs giant Pfizer has blamed financial deficits in the NHS for 250 job cuts planned in the UK as part of a 10% trimming of its worldwide workforce.

The world's biggest drugs company - which includes Viagra among its products - employs 6,000 people in Sandwich, Kent and Tadworth, Surrey.

It has said it will cut its UK sales force, which reports to Tadworth, and close regional offices.

Unions said claims NHS deficits had prompted jobs cuts were "disingenuous".

Linda McCulloch, spokeswoman for trade union Amicus, saiid: "Pfizer is one of the biggest and richest companies in the world.

"This announcement is clearly part of a massive global cost-cutting exercise.

We told 50 colleagues in obesity research that their roles will be affected
Joel Morris

"Just last week we were given reassurances that the future of the UK workforce was secure.

"We are pressing the company to meet us as a matter or urgency to reassure our members - their long-serving workforce - that their jobs are not at risk."

Pfizer said on Monday it planned to close three research sites and two factories in the US, as well as a factory in Germany and research sites in Japan and France.

Company spokesman Joel Morris said some people from abroad may be redeployed to Sandwich but numbers could not be predicted.

"We have told 50 colleagues who work in obesity research at Sandwich that their roles will be affected," he said.

"These people are highly skilled scientists and we are hoping that we can retain them in Sandwich."

A Pfizer statement said NHS deficits had resulted in increase use of older, cheaper generic drugs.

"This shift away from prescription of newer, more effective medicines has caused Pfizer to reconsider the number of roles required to support the UK business," it said.

It said Amicus had not yet asked for a meeting with the company.


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