Novartis plans UK plant closure
Tuesday 5th November 2013, 4:50PM GMT.
Hundreds of jobs are under threat after pharmaceutical giant Novartis announced plans to close its site in West Sussex.
More than 350 research and development posts and around 170 contractors could go if plans go ahead to close the site in Horsham by the middle of next year.
The Switzerland-based company said the announcement comes amid a “challenging healthcare marketplace” and that its plans would be subject to staff consultation and final UK board approval.
Novartis, which employs more than 3,000 people, has pledged to continue to invest in the UK and retain manufacturing sites in Grimsby, Liverpool and Dundee, commercial offices in Surrey and a team in Sittingbourne, Kent.
It said in a statement: “We understand that this will be a difficult time for potentially affected employees, their families and the wider Horsham community given the links the company has in the area.
“We will work closely with everyone affected, including our associates, contractors, suppliers and local stakeholder groups, to make the process as straightforward and smooth as possible.”
In a separate development, Novartis said the UK pharmaceuticals division based in Frimley, Surrey, will be announcing the proposed withdrawal of marketing and sales support for products in diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Some 72 mainly field-based roles could be affected by the move but all products will still be available in the UK with no change in supply or accessibility “at this time”, the firm said.
It added: “As a company, Novartis continually evaluates its resource allocation to ensure that the organisation is highly flexible and able to proactively adapt to external challenges to best meet the needs of patients and customers.
“Our pipeline and future potential growth are strong. However, we face challenges in today’s industry. Our unified focus on growth, innovation and productivity will help us meet these challenges today and tomorrow, for the benefit of patients and customers worldwide.
“This does not affect the rest of Novartis’s current UK business in developing, manufacturing and marketing prescription and over the counter medicines, vaccines and eye care products for patients who need them, as well as animal health products.”