U.S. plants fall to GSK strategy shift

Two consequences of GlaxoSmithKline's recent decision to divest some of its less robust consumer products are the sale of a manufacturing plant in Memphis and another in Aiken, SC.

The Memphis operation employs 250 people. Among the OTC brands being made there are Goody's and Stanback headache powder and Chap-Et lip balm.

The Aiken plant employs about 210 people who produce the weight loss drug Alli, GI treatment Tagamet and Nytol for insomnia. Aiken is also the production site for some OTC brands not being sold, including smoking-cessation aid Nicorette. Its production will be transferred to another GSK site.

The potential loss of 460 manufacturing jobs sits alongside the 297,650 jobs lost across all pharma functions since 2000, as reported in Forbes. The calculation was made by outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The figures show 3,385 pharma job cuts in the first quarter of 2011, far off pace from 2010's total of 53,636. And the 2010 figure remains a significant improvement over the decade's high of 61,109 in 2009.

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