Pfizer to Cut 500 Jobs at UK Site as Part of $3.5B Cost-Savings Campaign

Pfizer office NY_iStock, JHVEPhoto

Pictured: Sign at Pfizer's headquarters in New York/iStock, JHVEPhoto

Pfizer is planning to lay off around 500 of its staffers and terminate its Pharmaceutical Sciences Small Molecule functions at its facility in Sandwich, Kent in the U.K., according to several media reports on Tuesday.

The business scale-back comes amid Pfizer’s sweeping cost-reduction plan announced last month, which will see the company generate $3.5 billion in savings through 2024. At the time, the company noted that the “cost realignment” initiative would include layoffs across its global operations, though the exact number of affected employees is still unknown.

Local news outlet Kent Online reported that Tuesday’s layoffs were also part of a redundancy consultation program at the Sandwich site.

In an emailed statement to Fierce Pharma, a Pfizer spokesperson clarified that the Sandwich facility would remain operational but “with a different size.” There are currently 940 employees at the U.K. site.

It is the latest Pfizer location to be hit with layoffs. Last week, the company axed around 100 employees at a manufacturing facility in Newbridge, Klidare in Ireland, according to local news outlet Irish Independent, noting that some affected employees might be moved to other roles, particularly as the company is looking to add 230 positions at other sites in Ireland per an RTE report.

A week before that, Pfizer dismissed around 200 employees at a manufacturing facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Pfizer has also announced the closure of its facility in Peapack, New Jersey, set to take effect in early 2024, alongside two other manufacturing plants in Durham and in Morrisville. A WARN notice filed in early October 2023 also indicates that Pfizer plans to let go of an undisclosed number of staffers at its location in Boulder, Colorado starting Dec. 4, 2023.

These layoffs come as Pfizer weathers its first quarterly loss since 2019, driven largely by a steep drop in COVID-19 sales. In its third-quarter financial report, the pharma posted $13.2 billion in revenue, representing a 42% decrease from the same period the prior year.

Pfizer’s antiviral coronavirus therapy Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir/ritonavir) saw a 97% decrease in sales in the third quarter of 2023 compared with the same period in 2022, whereas sales of its vaccine Comirnaty dropped 70%. These figures were more than enough to off-set the 10% growth of Pfizer’s non-COVID-19 products.

Tristan Manalac is an independent science writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. He can be reached at tristan@tristanmanalac.com or tristan.manalac@biospace.com.

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