Pfizer to cut more jobs and close factories

By Aaron Smith,

NEW YORK ( -- Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said Tuesday that it will reduce its staff by another 6,000 jobs and shut down eight factories in its ongoing mission to cut costs in the wake of its merger with Wyeth.

Pfizer (PFE, Fortune 500) said the global job reductions will occur "over the next several years" and the factories will be closed by the end of 2015.

This is just the most recent wave of cuts and closures, as the company aims to reduce costs by up to $5 billion by the end of 2012.

The eight factories being closed in this round are located in the United States, Puerto Rico and Ireland, according to the drugmaker.

More specifically, the drugmaker said it would shut down manufacturing at its Richmond, Va., plant and at two cities in New York: Rouses Point, near the Canadian border, and Pearl River near New York City, where Pfizer is headquartered. However, the drugmaker will continue to conduct research and development at the sites in Richmond and the Pearl River plant, which it acquired from Wyeth.

"This is unexpected and does not bode well for local or global economic recovery," said C. Scott Vanderhoef, chief economic officer for Rockland County, where Pearl River is located.

Vanderhoef said that Pfizer plans to eliminate 1,250 jobs at the Pearl River plant by 2014 - a number that the company confirmed.

Pfizer's factory closures include shut-downs in three Irish cities -- Loughbeg, Shanbally and Dublin -- as well as two cities in Puerto Rico -- Caguas and Carolina.

In addition, the company plans to "reduce operations" at six other plants in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Ireland, as well as in Germany and the United Kingdom.

Pfizer completed its acquisition of Wyeth on Oct. 15, 2009. Since then, the workforce has been reduced by 6,900 workers, primarily in manufacturing and R&D, according to a May 4 announcement.

Pfizer spokesman Ray Kerins said the total current workforce is approximately 113,800, down from 138,000 people that were employed by both companies in 2008. He said the company plans to reduce the total to 107,800 in five years.

"We obviously take these reductions very seriously and want to make sure our colleagues that are impacted by this are treated with dignity and respect," said Kerins. To top of page

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