Glaxo to shutter 620-worker U.K. plant

The latest casualty of impending drug-patent expirations is a GlaxoSmithKline plant in Kent, England. The drugmaker says it will shutter the manufacturing facility by 2013, eliminating more than 600 jobs in the process.

Just a decade ago, that plant employed 3,000 workers. Now, it's winding down even more as two treatments produced there face generic competition. One epilepsy drug made at the plant, Lamictal, just fell off patent. Another, the herpes drug Valtrex, is due to expire next year. Because those drugs amount to 60 percent of the plant's output, Glaxo is negotiating with local unions over upcoming layoffs.

This is the second time in less than six months that Glaxo has announced it's closing a British plant. In July, the drugmaker said it would shutter a facility in Sussex in 2011, claiming 493 jobs.

- see the BBC story