Pharmaceuticals group Novartis has announced 1,700 job cuts in Switzerland as well as up to 400 job losses in the UK and the end of manufacturing in Grimsby, as part of a global programme to slash production costs and boost profitability.

Vas Narasimhan, chief executive since February, said the cuts were part of the Swiss company’s strategy to move away from high volume drug production towards more specialised and personalised medicines. The reductions were part of a programme announced in 2016 to achieve $1bn in annual cost savings in its production network by 2020.

Novartis plans a net reduction of 1,000 positions by 2022 in Swiss manufacturing facilities. A further 700 jobs would go over the same period as a result of shifting business functions from Switzerland to service centres around the world. Novartis currently employs about 12,800 in Switzerland.

In the UK, Novartis said it planned to exit its Grimsby manufacturing site by 2020, affecting some 395 local employees. The shutdown was part of a global production strategy and “not linked to the decision of the UK to leave the EU,” said Haseeb Ahmad, Novarits’s UK country president. “Novartis remains committed to the UK and believes that the UK is a world leader in life-sciences,” said Mr Ahmad.

Novartis had previously unveiled cost savings measures in the US and Japan. It has not revealed the cost savings it expects to achieve in individual countries.


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