280 pharmaceutical jobs to go at MSD plant in Wicklow

7 Mar 2013

Some 280 jobs are to be lost at pharmaceutical manufacturer MSD, which is to close its plant in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow, by the end of 2015.

The decision to close the plant follows a worldwide review of its manufacturing operations, with some plants being closed or consolidated.

The company makes ingredients for respiratory care, infectious disease treatment and cardiovascular medicines.

IDA chief executive Barry O’Leary said his organisation is now committed to working intensively with MSD on finding a buyer for the facility and creating alternative employment in the area.

O’Leary said the pharmaceutical sector remained a significant employer in Ireland and MSD itself will continue to employ more than 2,000 people in Ireland.

“Significant fresh investment in the sector is under way and several other pharmaceutical projects are currently in play and being pursued aggressively by Ireland.

“Among the investments won by Ireland in recent times include Mylan in Dublin, Abbott in Sligo, Allergan in Westport, Amgen in Dun Laoghaire, Eli Lilly in Cork and Sanofi in Waterford. In total, these investments come to approximately $1.5bn of fresh investment, representing approximately 1,200 jobs.

“However, as referenced in IDA’s end-of-year statement for 2012, the pharmaceutical sector faces several global challenges, including over capacity and patent expiry. Notwithstanding these challenges, pharmaceutical remains a strategically important sector nationally. IDA is working with leading companies and other stakeholders to ensure that Ireland is in a strong position to meet these challenges in the period ahead,” O’Leary said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years