Pfizer To Slash 6,000 Jobs

NEW YORK (AP) -- Pfizer Inc. said Tuesday it will cut 6,000 jobs as it trims manufacturing capacity for health care products worldwide after acquiring smaller rival Wyeth last year.

The world's biggest drugmaker and producer of Viagra says it will cease operations at eight plants in Ireland, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. by the end of 2015, and reduce operations at six other plants over the next several years. The plants make a range of pharmaceutical and consumer health products. Overall, the company operates 78 plants internationally and employs about 116,000 workers.

The New York-based company said in April it would cut 20,000 jobs as it integrates Wyeth, which it bought in October for $68 billion.

"The restructuring of our global plant network is critical to our efforts to remain competitive so that we can continue to meet patient needs and expand the access and affordability of our medicines," said Pfizer global manufacturing president Nat Ricciardi, in a statement.

Pfizer, which sells Viagra and the cholesterol drug Lipitor, gained an assortment of products from Wyeth. Those products include the biotech drug Enbrel for rheumatoid arthritis, menopause treatments Premarin and Prempro, and Prevnar for children's pneumococcal diseases. Wyeth products contributed more than $5 billion in revenue to Pfizer during the first quarter.

Under the restructuring plan, Pfizer will cut operations at pharmaceutical plants in Caguas, Puerto Rico; Loughbeg, Ireland, and Rouses Point, N.Y. The company plans to shut down injectible medicines plants in Carolina, Puerto Rico and Dublin, Ireland. Other shutdowns include biotechnology plants in Shanbally, Ireland along with consumer health care plants in Richmond, Va., and Pearl River, N.Y.

Pfizer said the timing of specific exits will depend upon the complexity of operations, the amount of time required for product transfers, and other business requirements.

The company has also recommended reductions in several other plants, including Guayama, Puerto Rico; Newbridge, Ireland; Andover, Mass.; Sanford, N.C; Havant, U.K.; and Illertissen, Germany.

Also, Pfizer said it is evaluating options for its animal health manufacturing sites, and recommendations are expected by the end of June. Pfizer plans to study its nutrition and emerging markets plant networks later in 2010.

Shares of Pfizer rose 4 cents to $16.15 in morning trading.

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