American drugmaker Pfizer announced on Wednesday it will soon be shutting down two of its manufacturing plants in India that make generic injectable drugs, in response to falling demand.
As reported in Reuters, the two sites in the states of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu employ nearly 1,700 workers, contributing around 6 percent to Pfizer’s global manufacturing workforce.
After conducting a thorough evaluation of both the plant, Pfizer has come into conclusion that manufacturing at these sites is not viable because of significant long term loss of product, the company wrote in an emailed statement.
Both the sites are export-oriented and came under the company’s ownership when it purchased Hospira Inc in a $15 billion deal in February 2015, with an objective to boost its portfolio of generic injectables as well as copies of biotech medicines.
Pfizer is also reportedly shutting down a Hospira research and development lab in Chennai, India. However, Steven Danehy, Pfizer spokesman said that it was concerned with the shutdown of its two big sites. Nearly 150 workers at that facility were informed about the shutdown in the last quarter of 2018, he added.
Pfizer’s Chennai site manufactures generic injectable drugs of penicillin, penems, and cephalosporin, while the plant in Maharashtra supplied the Chennai unit with various products.
The company said that these plants do not manufacture products for the Indian market, adding an expansion to its operations in Visakhapatnam unit in South India, to bring it up as global terminally sterilized manufacturing center of excellence.
Pfizer had suspended manufacturing at the Chennai facility as it received several observations from the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA), the latest being 11 observations in March-April last year.
Following the closure of these two sites, Pfizer will be left with manufacturing plants in Visakhapatnam, Goa, and a joint venture site – Zydus Hospira Oncology Pvt Ltd (ZHOPL) – formed to make injectable cytotoxic drugs in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
While exact timing of the shutdown of the two sites is not yet determined, Pfizer said that the announcement does not directly impact operations at other sites.