320 jobs lost at Novartis Cork facility despite earnings boost

23 Oct 2019

Image: © Игорь Головнёв/Stock.adobe.com

Pharmaceutical giant Novartis is set to cut 320 jobs in Cork over the next three years.

320 jobs will be lost in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, after pharmaceutical company Novartis confirmed plans to close one of its production buildings by mid-2022. The losses constitute more than half of the centre’s total workforce.

Meanwhile, a number of global service roles currently located in Ringaskiddy will be relocated to centres in Europe and Asia by the end of 2021.

About 240 of the staff affected at the Cork production building are employed in the manufacture of pharmaceutical ingredients, while the remaining 80 are involved in business support, administration, production planning and testing.

The news comes just one day after the pharma company boosted its earnings forecast and revealed that sales of its medicines, such as psoriasis drug Cosentyx and gene therapy Zolgensma, surpassed analyst expectations for Q3.

The latter drug, which is used to treat spinal muscular atrophy in young children, has been hailed as the world’s most expensive drug, costing $2.1m per patient. Sales for the drug for one quarter totalled $160m, well above analyst expectations of around $98m.

Overall, Novartis’s third-quarter net income rose to $12.2bn.

‘Devastating news’

Fianna Fáil leader and TD for Cork South Central Micheál Martin said in a statement that the job losses were “devastating news”, adding that it was “urgent that Government and its agencies responds to retain as many jobs as possible and to support workers in this time of crisis”.

Mick Barry, TD in Cork North-Central for the Solidarity and Socialist party, added: “These are the people who made Novartis into a company with a market capitalisation of more than $200bn [last year] and they must not be thrown under the bus.”

This is the second major jobs loss for Munster this week. Yesterday (22 October), Koch Industries-owned US company Molex confirmed plans to shed 500 jobs in Shannon, Co Clare, following the closure of its facility there by the end of 2020.

The company has cited the US-China trade war and the impact of the resulting tariffs as contributing factor to the decision.

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic