There are fears for the future of up to 100 jobs at pharma giant Novartis following confirmation that it has shed 70 jobs in recent weeks.
The company, based in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, said it has concluded a “planned phased reduction” of 35 temporary or contract employees so far this year.
A restricted voluntary severance scheme has also been accepted by 35 permanent employees.
However, sources have said the number of job losses could top 100 before the year end, with speculation a further 50 could go early in 2015.
It is understood the jobs were being shed due to a reduction in demand for Diovan, the company’s blockbuster heart pill which lost patent protection in September 2012.
In a statement, the company said its priority was developing, manufacturing, and bringing innovative medicines to the market for patients worldwide.
A spokesperson said the company was constantly examining all of its manufacturing sites and looking to assess how it meets the demands of its manufacturing needs, as well as maximising the use of new technologies to make the medicines for patients who need them.
“As part of this assessment, we also review our resources and look to reallocate them where possible against short-term and longer-term product and pipeline manufacturing priorities,” she said.
“In this instance, this has included the planned phased reduction of 35 temporary or contract employees in 2014 at Novartis Ringaskiddy.
“During the year, a restricted voluntary severance scheme has also been accepted by 35 permanent employees.
“The well-being of our employees is of the highest priority to Novartis and any impacted associates will be supported and treated fairly and with respect.”
However, she stressed the Ringaskiddy plant remained an important member of the Novartis Group.
Meanwhile, Taoiseach Enda Kenny is due in Cork next week to make what has been described as a “significant” jobs announcement at technology company Xanadu, and officially open the firm’s newly extended offices in the Blackpool Retail Park.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved