Novartis says more cuts coming for New York Diovan plant

Novartis ($NVS) has notified the state of New York of its 83-employee layoff beginning Dec. 31 at its plant in Suffern, NY, a facility that will close in 2016, at which point essentially all traces of it will be eliminated.

The notice said the cuts will come during a two-week period beginning Dec. 31, according to the Gannett news site, lohud. The Sept. 16 letter to the state Department of Labor said it was the second round of cuts to be made at the Diovan manufacturing plant.

In January, Novartis announced it would close the plant in anticipation of generic competition to its blood pressure blockbuster. Novartis enjoyed a nearly two-year generic reprieve for Diovan when manufacturing problems at plants in India kept Ranbaxy Laboratories from launching its first-to-file generic. This year Novartis said the handwriting was on the wall for the drug and the plant would close. It said it would transfer workers who handle certain "necessary functions," but the rest of its 525 employees would be laid off. After the closure, Novartis said it would transfer all the equipment from the site, demolish the plant and put the land up for sale.

At the end of June, Ranbaxy announced that it had secured FDA approval to make the Diovan generic at its Ohm Laboratories plant in New Jersey and that it would have the drug on the market as soon as possible. The New Jersey plant is the only FDA-approved Ranbaxy plant that has escaped bans for sales in the U.S. The Indian drugmaker had to buy the active ingredient for the drug because its own plant that would have made the API is among those that had been banned.

- read the lohud story