Updated on 15 June 2012
Pfizer says the decision was influenced by a number of factors, including proximity to contractors, geography and operating costs
Pfizer's 20-person surveillance testing group located in Groton will be relocating to Singapore in 2013. The surveillance testing group is a part of the company's Scientific Laboratory Services team that tests the products manufactured by contractors. In a statement provided by the company to BioSpectrum, Pfizer confirmed the relocation of its contractor quality surveillance laboratories from Groton, Connecticut to a facility in Singapore in 2013. The existing surveillance laboratories in Groton will continue to operate through late 2012 at which point a transition to testing at the Singapore lab will commence.
A statement from Pfizer said "this change will help us better align our quality operations with business demand and strengthen the company's position as a global supplier". The statement also clearly said "the relocation will not impact our ability to ensure product quality and safety".
Contractor surveillance testing is performed to ensure that products purchased by Pfizer or sold on company's behalf meet Pfizer's quality standards. Like many pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer too partners with many outside suppliers and ensures that Pfizer's own quality standards and required regulatory standards are consistently met.
Currently, 20 employees are working in the company's Gorton's surveillance labs. The company said some of employees who will be impacted by the change may be retained and re-assigned to other areas. The company plans to employ 24 people at the Singapore site.
Pfizer seems to be on a cost-cutting spree since its blockbuster drug Lipitor, which earns around $14 billion a year, has gone off patent in November 2011. Pfizer's first-quarter 2012 revenues were $15.4 billion, showing a decrease of seven percent companred to $16.5 billion in the year-ago quarter. For the first-quarter 2012, the US revenues were $6 billion, a decrease of 15 percent compared with the year-ago quarter, primarily as a result of the US loss of exclusivity (LOE) of Lipitor on November 30, 2011. Earlier in June, an Irish daily had reported that Pfizer is planning to cut down 180 jobs in Little Island and Ringaskiddy facilities where the cholestrol reduction blockbuster drug, Lipitor, is produced. (Read A deal undone: Biocon, Pfizer go back on alliance)