Lipitor losses lead to Pfizer headcount reduction in Ireland

The generic onslaught on Pfizer's ($PFE) blockbuster Lipitor started just 6 months ago, but the pain is reaching Ireland where the company is poised to cut nearly 200 manufacturing jobs.

The company wouldn't comment, but The Irish Examiner reports Pfizer will whack about 180 jobs, including up to 130 at a plant in Ringaskiddy and the rest for Pfizer's Little Island facility. It says that Pfizer has about 700 workers at the two Cork plants, 500 in Ringaskiddy and 220 in Little Island, and that it has indicated it needs to cut about €80 million ($99.4 million) from its operations in Ireland. The reductions come about two years after it announced it would cut about 800 of 5,000 jobs in Ireland as part of its global headcount reductions, the paper reports.

The impact of generics has been almost immediate on Lipitor since it went off patent in November. At its height, the cholesterol-lowering drug sold about $14 billion a year. In the last quarter, sales fell 42%. The company is already backing off marketing efforts that were intended to hold off the hordes.

And its cost adjustments go well beyond plants in Ireland. The company announced last month that it would sell its nutrition unit to Nestlé for $11.9 billion. Meanwhile, it's preparing to divest its animal health unit, probably via a combination IPO and share swap, CEO Ian Read has said.

- here's the Irish Examiner story