GlaxoSmithKline closes Bangladesh manufacturing, cuts 1,000 workers

GSK in 2017 announced a revamp of its emerging markets operations to make them more efficient. (Eric Saganowsky)

GlaxoSmithKline has been remaking its emerging markets operations to be more efficient and cost effective and a manufacturing plant and 1,000 employees in Bangladesh are the next to be streamlined into extinction.

The U.K. drugmaker confirmed Friday it will close the outdated facility and layoff the 1,000 manufacturing and commercial operations employees by the end of the year.

“As we previously announced, GSK will run pharmaceuticals in our emerging markets region as an integrated operation, putting in place the right commercial structure in these markets to deliver a sustainable growth ambition,” a spokesperson said.

Directors of GSK Bangladesh told The Daily Star that the six decade-old plant in Fouzderhat can no longer compete with newer manufacturing operations in the country or cheap imported generics. All of drugs the plant has manufactured, such as Seretide, Avamys, Ventolin Nebules and vaccines are all still available as generics in the country. The news prompted protests outside the plant, the newspaper said.

RELATED: GSK cutting jobs in sub-Saharan Africa, will rely on distributors

GSK CEO Emma Walmsley in 2017 announced the emerging markets revamp, saying it would create an “end-to-end operating model” that will have its own governance model and commercial structures. Those might be a standalone business, a cluster of similar markets or a distributor-led model.

Pretty quickly after that, the company announced a revamp in sub-Saharan Africa, that would rely on distributors and cutting many of the 1,500 employees it had in that part of the world. It was adamant that its drugs and vaccines will still be available there.