After encountering a significant drop in demand for its COVID-19 products, Pfizer announced a significant restructuring aimed at ultimately saving $3.5 billion globally. The initiative continues with cost-cutting efforts in Ireland where the company plans to consolidate offices and eliminate jobs. The pharmaceutical giant, which was the biggest in the world in 2022, recently announced it will relocate employees from its Citywest office in Dublin to its larger Ringsend facility. The company did not specify an exact number of layoffs. This comes just weeks after Pfizer cut 100 jobs at its Newbridge plant.
Pfizer said it would≥ move all employees from Citywest to the larger Ringsend site to “enable growth and investment in our Irish manufacturing network.” Additionally, the company plans to bolster its Grange Castle biotech facility, which manufactures vaccine and biologic ingredients. Pfizer has biotech and pharmaceutical manufacturing sites in Dublin, Cork, and Newbridge in addition to Grange Castle. While job cuts are imminent from the Dublin consolidation, Pfizer stated it would “make every effort to minimize redundancies” through new roles and internal moves. The company emphasized its commitment to Ireland, noting it has invested over $9 billion in the country over the past decade.
Before announcing the restructuring in Ireland, Pfizer had already made a series of cuts at facilities in the U.S. and U.K. In the U.S., sites in North Carolina and New Jersey were among those affected.
Timeline of layoffs at Pfizer to date in 2023
- October 2023:
- November 2023:
- New Jersey: Pfizer announced plans to shutter a facility in Gladstone, but the majority will be reassigned to New York
- Michigan: About 200 employees laid off at its Portage site.
- Sandwich, Kent, UK: Approximately 500 roles cut at the Sandwich site.
- Newbridge, Kildare, Ireland: Approximately 100 jobs cut at the manufacturing plant in Newbridge.
Restructuring in Ireland and beyond: Pfizer adapts to an evolving COVID landscape
The recent layoffs across various global locations reflect Pfizer’s strategy to deal with evolving market dynamics amidst a declining trend in COVID-19 cases and deaths in many parts of the world. While periodic outbreaks remain a fact of life, in many regions, there is a pronounced move towards normalization and reduced demand for COVID-19 related products. “The cost realignment program will improve our operating margins, enhancing long-term shareholder value,” noted Dave Denton, chief financial officer at Pfizer in the company’s Q3 earnings call.
The company does not expect further declines in demand for its COVID-19 products, which include its Comirnaty vaccine and Paxlovid antiviral. “I think it’s very easy for everyone to be able to model what I think will be stable COVID revenues going forward,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla in the aforementioned earnings call, pointing to a recently amended Paxlovid supply agreement.
In Ireland, Pfizer states it aims to minimize Irish job losses through open roles and talent shifts. The consolidation of the two Dublin sites, which currently employ a combined 525 people, could signal more cuts are likely. Pfizer employs about 5,000 staff across five sites in Ireland.
Despite the downturn, Pfizer claims it foresees overall growth in its Irish manufacturing operations through 2024.