Economic pressure brings cuts at Pharmascience
- Privately-owned Quebec-based specialty pharma Pharmascience has axed around 90 jobs at its Montreal head office, but did not reveal which types of roles these layoffs will affect.
- The company has cited pressures of pricing, regulatory pressures and market instability as reasons for the layoffs—a move Pharmascience referred to as "rightsizing."
- The family-owned company produces more than 2,000 products, filling over 45 million prescriptions a year in Canada alone.
In June 2015, Montreal Gazette wrote that Pharmascience planned to invest $55.7 million over 18 months to modernize its R&D and increase its capacity for production, with potential jobs for an additional 65 new employees. The minister of economy, innovation and exports saw this as a sign of the region's recovery after a severe downturn. However, just over a year later, the company is cutting staff in its head office because of economic pressures.
"A number of external factors, such as pricing and regulatory pressures, have recently led to increased market instability; mainly in Quebec, the rest of Canada and globally. Pharmascience has had no choice but to adjust to this new business reality to ensure the growth and sustainability of its business," said CEO David Goodman in a statement. "Pharmascience maintains it will closely review major new investments in Canada until further market clarity and confidence are re-established. In the interim, the company expects these changes will allow them to retain a competitive edge and remain an industry leader."
It's been a tight few months for pharma and biotech company employees, including at some of the biggest players, and for a variety of reasons.
Reorganizations and consolidations can cost jobs. In late August, Novartis rejiggered its standalone cell and gene therapies unit to reintegrate it into the larger company, affecting around 120 jobs. In October, Medivir announced plans to shed all but its oncology pipeline, cutting around 30 jobs. And Pfizer has completed a restructuring with the layoff of 151 employees in New York at a vaccine facility.
Plenty of others in the industry are also making cuts. Teva's closed of its New York facility with 80 jobs affected; Imprimis' shutdown a Texas plant, resulting in 8% job cuts; and Novo Nordisk pledged to cut a thousand jobs before the end of 2016.
- Pharmascience Statement
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