Plan to close Dublin pharma plant with loss of 440 jobs a ‘devastating blow’

Viatris generic medicines facility in Baldoyle due to shut down over next two years

The Mylan plant in Baldoyle, Co Dublin, which recently merged with Upjohn to become Viatris. Photograph: Dean Ruxton/The Irish Times.

The Mylan plant in Baldoyle, Co Dublin, which recently merged with Upjohn to become Viatris. Photograph: Dean Ruxton/The Irish Times.

 

Industry Correspondent

News that nearly 450 staff at a pharmaceutical company in north Dublin are to lose their jobs has been described as a “devastating blow” by Tánaiste and Minister for Business Leo Varadkar.

Staff at Viatris in Baldoyle were told on Friday that the plant is to close down over a two-year period as part of a global restructuring of the company. Viatris was established following the recent merger of two other pharmaceutical firms, Mylan and Upjohn.

The plant manufactures oral solid dose generic medicines and there are currently 440 people employed in the Baldoyle operation.

It is one of up to 15 manufacturing sites around the world that the company will either close, downsize or divest as they are “deemed to be no longer viable due to either surplus capacity, challenging market dynamics or a shift in product portfolio toward more complex products”.

“Viatris intends to close down manufacturing operations at this facility at the end of 2022. With that said, there will be no immediate reductions at the site,” the company said of the north Dublin plant.

“It is anticipated that the majority of its workforce at the Baldoyle site will remain employed until late 2022 as the company winds down operations over the next two years.”

‘Difficult year’

In a statement, Mr Varadkar said it was “really devastating news” for the affected workers and their families in the run-up to Christmas after what has been an “exceptionally difficult year for everyone”.

“I understand that this development is not related to Covid-19, but instead related to a global restructuring of the company. Despite this disappointing decision by the company, Viatris has made it clear that it remains fully committed to Ireland and even after this announcement they will employ more than 1,400 across the country, in Galway, Dublin and Cork.”

Mr Varadkar said the Government would make “all necessary State assistance available to the workers” and would provide help affected staff in finding new jobs or returning to eductaion.

“I am very aware of how challenging a time it is for workers and how worried many people are about their future and the uncertainties that exist. However, as difficult as it is to appreciate now, Ireland is in a very strong position to recover and we will continue to work to attract new investment and new opportunities.”

Not taken lightly

Vitaris said the decision to phase out manufacturing operations at the former Mylan facility in Baldoyle was not a decision it took lightly.

It said it would work with public representatives and the community to identify appropriate potential alternatives for the site, if possible.

“In the meantime, Viatris remains committed to treating those impacted fairly and with respect,” the company said.

“The company will be offering employees comprehensive separation packages, including pay and healthcare continuation, career counselling services, and continued coverage under the employee assistance programme, subject to consultation with elected employee representatives.”

Local TD and Labour Party enterprise spokesman Aodhán Ó Ríordáin called for the workers to be supported and for the IDA and the Government to examine if the facility could potentially be offered to other pharmaceutical companies.

“The announcement of future job losses is always troubling, but particularly so close to Christmas and I am concerned that so many positions will be lost in one location. It is a huge blow for the workers and the local community,” he said.