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GSK cuts 200 manufacturing jobs in Durham

GlaxoSmithKline is proposing to cut 200 jobs at its manufacturing facility, Barnard Castle, in County Durham

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is proposing to cut 200 jobs at its manufacturing facility, Barnard Castle, in County Durham.

The cuts, which are subject to consultation with employee representatives, are expected to be made over the next 12 to 18 months. The company plans to make these efficiencies through voluntary redundancies and early retirements. Currently there are 961 permanent staff employed at Barnard Castle.

The site in northeast England manufactures Zofran, a drug used to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea. The patent on Zofran is due to expire shortly and the drug is expected to face generic competition.

GSK says the proposed cuts will help to sustain the future of the County Durham site, which is one of only eight new product introduction sites used by the company worldwide.

Site director Roger Connor said: "We very much regret the need for these proposed job losses but they are essential to remain competitive within the global pharmaceutical market.

"It is a difficult proposal for the company to make and I want to emphasise that it is not a reflection on the quality of our staff or on our commitment to the Barnard Castle site.

"Indeed, we will continue to invest in the site with around £17m planned for 2009 in addition to the £48m invested in the last two years. These investments and the proposed restructuring announced today will put us in the best possible position to ensure a sustainable future for the site."

In November PMLiVE reported that GSK was to cut 620 jobs at its manufacturing facility in Kent. The site currently produces two drugs, Lamictal used to control epilepsy and bipolar disorder, and Valtrex for herpes, which are due to face generic competition shortly as their patents expire.

The same month, GSK announced plans to cut around 1000 sales jobs in the US, with generic competition being a key cause of these reductions. This came only a month after the company announced the loss of 850 research and development jobs across the UK and US, and was in addition to 350 UK R&D jobs cut recently by the company.

4th December 2008

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