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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 April, 2003, 13:12 GMT 14:12 UK
Drugs firm to axe 200 jobs
Viagra, made by Pfizer
Pfizer is best known as the maker of the drug Viagra

A pharmaceutical firm has confirmed 200 positions will be cut at its Kent headquarters following a merger.

Pfizer, based at Sandwich, claims to be the world's second biggest company after Microsoft following its $58bn takeover of rival drugs firm Pharmacia two weeks ago.

The pharmaceutical giant said on Wednesday that the job losses were part of a restructuring programme that would result in more than 2,000 redundancies worldwide.

However, Pfizer said the re-organisation would secure the Sandwich site's future.

The company is the biggest employer in east Kent, with 5,500 staff.

Hiring freeze

Kate Robbins, media relations director for Pfizer, said most of the posts lost would be in support functions, allowing the firm to concentrate on research and development.

She said: "In the restructuring there will be maybe about 200 positions - less than 200 - that will be affected.

"However, we have tried to mitigate that, first with a hiring freeze that we put into place last year to create positions.

"We have very good local work forces here that we hope to redeploy internally."

Viagra producers

She said those staff made redundant would have the chance to appeal or apply for other positions within the organisation.

She said: "We would expect that as a result of the restructuring that in one year you will see a rise in numbers because other sites are part of the global reorganisation and they will be bringing in functions as we will be losing them."

She said the changes in staffing reflected the dynamic nature of the pharmaceutical industry.

The drugs giant, best known for producing Viagra, invests more than $5bn a year worldwide on research and development to address some of the world's biggest killers.

Pfizer earlier this year denied a claim by Chancellor Gordon Brown that the drugs industry did not do enough to help developing countries.

Drug giants agree $60bn merger
15 Jul 02  |  Business

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