US pharma major Pfizer said it has a long-standing commercial and manufacturing presence in India for more than 60 years and the decision to shut down two of its production sites would not have any impact on its other commitments and ongoing operations in India.
US pharma major Pfizer said it has a long-standing commercial and manufacturing presence in India for more than 60 years and the decision to shut down two of its production sites would not have any impact on its other commitments and ongoing operations in India. India will continue to be an important manufacturing location for Pfizer worldwide. The recommendation to exit the Irungattukottai (near Chennai) and Aurangabad sites has been the result of a significant loss of product demand making manufacturing at these sites unviable, a Pfizer spokesperson told FE.
Pfizer on Tuesday decided to shut down two of its manfacturing plants – one in Irungattukottai (near Chennai) and Aurangabad (Maharashtra) – owing to lack of commerical viability. The US pharma company had secured these plants when it acquired Hospira in 2015.
On the other hand, Pfizer has also announced the expansion of the Vizag facility. The Vizag site is now expanded into a global terminally sterilized manufacturing centre of excellence. It will cater to export markets, such as United States and eventually to Canada, too, the company spokesperson said.
Pfizer had conducted a thorough evaluation of the Irungattukottai and Aurangabad sites and concluded that due to very significant long-term loss of product demand, manufacturing at these sites is not viable. As a result, Pfizer is announcing that both the Aurangabad and Chennai sites will immediately cease manufacturing with the intention to exit both sites as soon as possible in 2019. The exact timing of the exit of the sites is to be determined, the spokesperson said.
The Irungattukottai plant currently employs around 1,000 employees and Aurangabad site has close to 700 workers. “Our focus is on our colleagues impacted by this decision and we are committed to keeping colleagues informed of the site exit process,” he said. The Irungattukottai and Aurangabad sites are purely export-oriented sites and do not supply products for Pfizer’s India commercial operations. According to the spokesperson, the announcement does not affect other Indian manufacturing sites in Goa, Vishakapatnam (Vizag) and its joint venture site, ZHOPL in Ahmedabad. Pfizer is also announcing an expansion at the Vizag site. Pfizer operates five manufacturing sites in India. The company remains committed to making Pfizer medicines available to patients in India and around the world.
Sources in the know said that close to 1,700 employees will be impacted by the decision to shut down the units. The company is drawing up a financial scheme for the employees of these units. Pfizer will seek to sell the plant sites, going forward, according to them. Both the units are export-oriented and in the case of Chennai unit it had faced several USFDA observations and has been under the US watchdog’s scanner for quite some time.