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Nov 20, 2008

GlaxoSmithKline to Cut 620 Jobs

GlaxoSmithKline has announced plans to cut 620 jobs at its Kent manufacturing site, blaming the "fiercely competitive environment" within the pharmaceutical industry.

The company said it will close the Dartford factory by 2013, because patents for its epilepsy drug Lamictal and herpes treatment Valtrex, which both account for 60pc of production at the site, are set to expire over the coming months.

The loss of patents mean that cheaper generic versions of the drugs can be manufactured by rival companies.

The closure of the plant is part of a £1.5bn cost-cutting program announced last year by the company to deliver annual pre-tax savings of up to £700m by 2010. The company said it has begun consulting with unions over the job losses, expected to be made over the next four years.

Production of newer products manufactured at the site will be transferred to other GlaxoSmithKline sites.

"The proposal is no reflection on the professionalism and commitment of Dartford employees, but that of the fiercely competitive environment in which the pharmaceutical industry operates," said Joe Foley, director of the Dartford site.

The announcement comes a week after the company revealed it was cutting 1,000 jobs or 12pc of its sales workforce in the United States.

Earlier this year, the firm announced that it was closing its Sussex site in 2011, with the loss of 493 jobs, and was cutting 330 jobs at its Ulverston factory in Cumbria.

The job losses follow similar cuts made by its rivals within the pharmaceutical industry, including German group Merck and US company Schering-Plough.


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