Pfizer announces 7,800 job cuts, plant and R&D site closures

Pfizer said yesterday it plans to eliminate an additional 7,800 jobs by slashing its European sales force and closing several research and manufacturing sites by the end of 2008. The new cuts are in addition to the termination of 2,200 members of Pfizer’s US sales force announced in November. A total of 10,000 job reductions will come from all parts of the company and account for approximately 10% of Pfizer’s global workforce. Pfizer said the moves would save $1.5 billion to $2 billion a year in pretax expenses. “Fundamental change is imperative and it must happen now,” CEO Jeffrey Kindler told analysts during a four-hour meeting at Pfizer’s midtown Manhattan headquarters yesterday. As part of the proposed cuts, Pfizer plans: * A reduction to its European field force by more than 20%. * The closure of two manufacturing sites – one in Brooklyn, NY, and one in Omaha, NE, and the proposed sale of a third site in Feucht, Germany. *The closure of three research sites in the US – Ann Arbor, MI, Esperion (also in Ann Arbor) and Kalamazoo, MI. The company is also proposing to shutter research sites in Nagoya, Japan, and Amboise, France, subject to consultation with works councils and local labor laws. Also part of its overhaul, Pfizer has proposed an organizational restructuring of its US pharmaceutical operations into four distinct business units, each led by a general manager with profit-and-loss accountability, and a fifth business unit responsible for customer support and specifically focused on managed care and access. The new business unit structure stands to have the greatest impact on Pfizer’s sales and marketing colleagues, Pfizer spokesman Paul Fitzhenry told MM&M. “We are continuing to go forward with our review of the business, so there will be changes throughout the organization going forward,” Fitzhenry said. Although the company did not announce specific management changes, at least one high-level executive is reported to be losing his job. According to The New York Times, Peter Brandt, who headed US pharmaceutical operations and had been given extra responsibilities as recently as August, would retire because his job was being eliminated by the sales overhaul. Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Pfizer said its full-year sales rose 2%, to $48.37 billion from $47.41 billion in 2005. Ian Read, head of worldwide pharmaceutical operations, said marketing efforts among drugs in the portfolio will include the planned launch of a new consumer advertising campaign for pain drug Celebrex in the second quarter of 2007. The campaign will address cardiovascular safety concerns associated with the COX-2 class, he said. Pfizer also plans to expand its consumer campaign around Caduet aimed at patients being treated for hypertension and lipidemia, pending approval of materials by the FDA.