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Pfizer to axe more than 2,000 jobs

Wednesday February 2nd 2011

Drugs giant Pfizer is to axe more than 2,000 jobs after announcing plans to close its leading UK research centre.

Many employees will wish they had Income Protection insurance after plans to close the research and development (R&D) facility at Sandwich, Kent, were announced.

It is the latest blow to R&D jobs in the UK as firms across the country attempt to reduce their costs.

The company said the majority of the site's 2,400 employees would be made redundant over the next 18 months to two years.

The closure will be "devastating" for British science, according to medical experts.

The Royal Society of Chemistry said the science sector was witnessing the "haemorrhaging of the lifeblood of the British pharmaceuticals industry".

Trade union Unite also reacted with dismay at Pfizer's decision, which it said will see the withdrawal of Sandwich's biggest employer.

Pfizer has a history at Sandwich dating back more than 50 years and the Kent R&D site lays claim to some of the world's biggest medical discoveries, including blockbuster drug Viagra.

Pfizer said it was working with partners to see if the site's facilities and buildings can be used after it pulls out of the area.

It also hopes to secure the transfer of several hundred jobs to other Pfizer sites or partner companies.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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