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Pfizer closes Kent plant as it trims research spending by $1bn a year

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d771 (Published 04 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d771
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Pfizer, the world’s biggest selling drug company, has announced plans to close its research and development plant at Sandwich in Kent, with the loss of 2400 jobs.

The closure is part of a plan to trim research spending from over $8bn (£4.9bn; €5.8bn) a year to less than $7bn and to focus on areas that offer the greatest promise, such as cancer and vaccines. Like other big drug companies Pfizer is responding to the declining productivity of traditional drug research and hoping to acquire new products by buying up small biotech companies.

The immediate aim is to meet earnings targets in 2012, which are threatened by two major brands, Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Viagra (sildenafil), coming off patent in the United States. Lipitor, acquired …

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