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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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April 28, 2011

Pfizer Layoffs Today

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Posted by Derek

I'm hearing that yesterday and today Pfizer has been handing out notices - today it appears to be in the cardiovascular area. Word is that the small-molecule people are especially hard hit, but anyone in a position to know, please feel free to add details in the comments. . .

Comments (36) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets


1. Pfired today on April 28, 2011 9:28 AM writes...

Yup PDM yesterday diabetes today. Only a few lab scientists being offered positions in diabetes. For the most part people seem happy to be getting let go. This is a sinking ship if there ever was one.

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2. gyges on April 28, 2011 9:39 AM writes...

"This is a sinking ship if there ever was one."

Are you talking about Pfizer or the UK?

I can't speak about the former but you're right about the latter.

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3. Beentheredonethat on April 28, 2011 9:40 AM writes...

My thoughts and prayers are with them. I lost my position in small molecules last month and I know what they are feeling. Very sad that talented, dedicated folks are being shown the door.

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4. ugh on April 28, 2011 10:29 AM writes...

Just heard that CVMED will have 85% reduction, 50% out by May 18. Clinical folks are hearing that their jobs will either be outsourced to China or turned into contract positions.

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5. Anonymous on April 28, 2011 11:16 AM writes...

Only biologists today, PDM yesterday, chemists don't find out for a few more weeks.

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6. Anonymous on April 28, 2011 11:18 AM writes...

Just biology today, PDM yesterday, chemists in a few weeks probably.

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7. Rick on April 28, 2011 11:30 AM writes...

Well, I guess that's one way to increase productivity 6-fold, make Wall Street happy and motivate your staff (via negative reinforcement). Pfizer is raising its game, from Denominator Management to Apocalypse Now Management: "The horror. The horror..."

Pfizer's next strategic move: leaving pharmaceuticals altogether and getting into funeral services. "People are just dying to get in!" sounds like great slogan.

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8. Hap on April 28, 2011 11:41 AM writes...

"No Chemists or Biologists Left Behind"?

Alternatively, how about "Drugs? We don't need no stinking drugs!"

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9. Prfired today on April 28, 2011 12:48 PM writes...

CVMED got slaughtered today. Looks like some groups stayed mostly intact while others were cut severly. Looks like 50% at most were given offers to relocate to Boston and it is probably less than that. Some offers were made to people who won't accept so that decreases things even more. Lot of good people let go. PPG, DSRD, and chemistry still to come.

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10. rogi on April 28, 2011 12:59 PM writes...

As a Merck refuge, would someone kindly translate the divisional acronyms at Pfizer that are being described? I have colleagues there and and would like to know if they fall into this unfortunate perview.

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11. Nick K on April 28, 2011 1:11 PM writes...

I've heard from a friend at Pfizer Sandwich that all the Discovery chemists are losing their jobs in the next month or two. There is a faint possibility that a CRO may take over PRD and thus save some chemistry jobs there.

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12. OldLabRat on April 28, 2011 1:13 PM writes...

CVMED = cardiovascular, metabolic & endocrine diseases
PPG = Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Group
DSRD = Drug Safety
PDM = pharmacodynamics & metabolism
PAL = Pfizer Acronym List (it really exists or at least used to).

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13. BFS on April 28, 2011 1:45 PM writes...

@12 OldLabRat

PAL = Pfizer Acronym List (it really exists or at least used to).

I did exist and was updated hourly. Ah yes, what memories!

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14. Dave on April 28, 2011 2:10 PM writes...

I think we should stop the 'doublespeak'. Those jobs are not being eliminated.

Each and every Pfizer position will be 're-established' in China. So from an economic and moral perspective, no harm is being done.

It's global whack a mole!

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15. Rick on April 28, 2011 2:16 PM writes...

Dave (#14)
"So from an economic and moral perspective, no harm is being done." I don't know about that, man. I'd like to think you could have some pretty spirited discussions in undergraduate economics and philosophy classes about that, except perhaps at Univ. Chicago.

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16. Steve on April 28, 2011 2:48 PM writes...

That joke about Pfizer's move into funeral services is interesting considering one of their Cambridge neighbors is in the business of selling funerary supplies. Do I smell a future acquisition or is that the sweet smell of embalming fluid?

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17. DCRogers on April 28, 2011 2:54 PM writes...

#14: here is an applicable chart:

"[S]ince 2000 until 2009, major United States-based multinational corporations eliminated 2.9 million jobs in the United States. During that same time, they've added 2.4 million jobs overseas."

(All multinationals, not just pharma, but I would doubt pharma is bucking the obvious trend.)

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18. MDACC Student on April 28, 2011 3:44 PM writes...

Is this still even considered a career? I guess it goes back to the 'PhD Supply' articles in nature. People can get let go, and shuffled around the world because the value of one researcher means nothing. Either due to supply or an inability to quantify your value.

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19. GreedyCynicalSelfInterested on April 28, 2011 3:46 PM writes...

@17 You forgot to count up all the savings as a result of this downsizing/outsourcing. How will the Obama administration pay for his welfare state when there are only $10/hr jobs left in the country?

Pfizer employees can show their dedication to the corporate mission and to humanity by offering to work for free! Let the Chinese beat those wages!

I smell an implosion.

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20. AnonX on April 28, 2011 4:00 PM writes...

Don't forget to review your experiences as a chemist:

Sorry biologists, you're on your own.

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21. Anonymous on April 28, 2011 4:02 PM writes...

You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else.

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22. Nottimsbeotch on April 28, 2011 5:23 PM writes...

After he was done with Groton Tim Rolph went to decimate the Cambridge group. Oh what a happy day for Tim. Bet he will have sweet dreams tonight. Who would have thought, an animal health hack who knows nothing about diabetes or CV disease running CVMed! But at least he can count on having a drink with all those world renowned scientists in Cambridge. I'm sure they will all be lining up to talk to him!

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23. fred on April 28, 2011 8:19 PM writes...

PFE has been exiting research for years. ALL they want to do is extend product lines and bring products in from elsewhere. Anyone still at PFE-- any site--should read the writing on the wall and leave while you can or switch to something closer to the product, like process development.

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24. george on April 28, 2011 11:08 PM writes...

look on the WuXii site - in PHILLY USA - position available

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25. milkshaken on April 29, 2011 12:30 AM writes...

no snowflakes here. It is machine-rendered meatflakes. We are one team dedicated to our mission. We are realigned and deemphasized, then ground into the ground rules. Out comes a corporate taco filling, 22% meat by weight (with the balance provided by alginate, xanthan and carob bean gum, modified corn starch, reconstituted whey solids, autolyzed yeast extract, nature-identical flavors, brominated vegetable oil, Allura Red E129 and Sunset Yellow E110.)

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26. Goldie on April 29, 2011 8:53 AM writes...

Don't judge Pfizer so harshly. Pfizer is not the only pharm that pulls out of the UK.

Why can't people judge the country (UK) instead of the company (Pfizer, and all the other pharmas that are pulling out or have pulled out of this country ?)

If you really want to judge Pfizer, please take a look at what Pfizer is doing in China. Over the last few years Pfizer has been investing heavily and opening thousands of jobs in China. Why ?

BTW, I am not pro-Pfizer. ( In fact my husband is one of the affected Pfizer employees.) Neither am I pro-China.

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27. Anonymous on April 30, 2011 6:45 AM writes...

@24. Have you actually looked at the required skill sets for the 4 WuXi jobs in PHL?

For 99.99999% of the readers of this blog and 99.99999% of the chemists and other scientists being thrown out onto the streets in the seemingly endless Pharma scientist dumping orgy, the only jobs at WuXi for which their skill sets may qualify them are in China.

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28. Anonymous on April 30, 2011 8:38 AM writes...

The reason Pfizer is moving jobs to China is to buy favor with the Chinese government, in the hope that they'll get access to their markets. This isn't about "cheap labor". Its about market access. China has >3x the US population, and a growing middle class (as ours shrinks) due to outsourcing of industrial jobs. It sucks, but this is the result of our political system having been corrupted and sold to the highest bidder. I see no way to reverse these trends. At least we can know that Pfizer is no more likely to get new drugs from the Chinese researchers than they are from US or UK researchers.

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29. stroke on April 30, 2011 10:23 PM writes...

Instead of promotions and bonuses for the jackasses sending our jobs overseas, they should be on trial for treason.

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30. Anonymous on May 1, 2011 3:56 PM writes...

save your money and hunker down. Go long on silver and gold. Take that severence pac and invest it wisely. Sign up immediately for UI. You'll get an extra ca. 2100/mo. Could be a 20-30% raise for may people scientists for 2011. i've been there. There IS life after big pharma....

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31. Anonymous on May 1, 2011 4:08 PM writes...

Ya...unemployment doesn't view severence packages as a problem. So, you can apply right away for unemployment. The current max payout in NJ is 538/wk after tax for 46 wks. I heard it was higher in MA and possible CT. #30 is right, it may provide many of the unfortunate victims with a 20-30% raise for 2011 while the remaining Pfizer guys won't see that level of raise for years to come...that's assuming they have a job 1-2 yrs from now!!!

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32. ex-pfizer on May 1, 2011 8:11 PM writes...

PAL - the Pfizer Acronym List, oh yes, I remember as well.

And I remember that one assistant to that one Medical Director. She had difficulties with the list, and so she decided to write a dictionary, for the use of everybody. And she was so very praised for her good work, and the "Dictionary" was so much recommended to everybody. She even got a bonus for it.

And I had a look at it, and another one, and found that she had "translated"

HR: human research.

This happened some years ago, but I still am not sure whether it was a mistake or not.

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33. Indy on May 3, 2011 10:50 AM writes...

@27. Sure... if you speak Chinese that is!

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34. BC on May 16, 2011 12:07 PM writes...

As someone who was Pfired twice due to two dfferent mergers I can say that accusitions made by Pfizer are about the three P's; People, Pipeline and Products.....since only the last one contributes to the real P the company cares about PROFITS its the only one they actively consider...the first two are just the messy business of some advice if you don't work for Pfizer make sure there is a change in control severance prorgam in place....and its Pfizer or another companies money make it lavish........if you work for probably won't for long and they don't have a severance package for true employees.

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35. Mary Ann on May 26, 2011 8:17 PM writes...

My husband has recently been laid off. Pfizer does not care about its employees and the families. It is in an absolute mess right now, and I dont know what to do. Tragic. Absolute.

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36. CW on August 13, 2011 11:13 AM writes...

yes, about 40 people in PA and NJ were announced in the last 3 days that they will have to exit Pfizer...interesting that none of the directors are loosing their will remain to see who is going to do the actual work...using contractors never worked 100%....more news to come....

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