Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceuticals group, Tuesday confirmed it would cut 6,000 jobs, or 18 per cent of its production staff, as part of a global restructuring triggered by last year’s takeover of Wyeth.

The reductions accompany the closure of nine of its 78 factories in North America and Europe.

They come as a number of large drugs companies are cutting costs at a time of growing pressure on prices, aggressive competition by manufacturers of generics and a dearth of new drugs to replace those with expiring patents.

Pfizer’s plans, to be completed by 2015, detail reductions signalled following the Wyeth deal, which aim to save $4bn-$5bn in annual costs and reduce last year’s total 130,000 post-merger staff numbers by up to 19,000.

It had pledged a $1.5bn reduction in manufacturing costs, with measures to realign remaining factories more in line with the geographical distribution of its demand. The company has already outlined cuts in marketing, administration and research and development, and had shrunk the workforce to 114,000 by the end of the first quarter.

Pfizer will close eight manufacturing sites in Ireland, Puerto Rico and the US by the end of 2015, as well as reduce operations at six other plants in Germany, Ireland, Puerto Rico, the UK and the US.

The company said it hoped to do so in a way that minimised the impact on local communities, including through sales rather than closures.

Nat Ricciardi, Pfizer’s global manufacturing president, said: “We must continue to adjust to the fast-changing and extremely competitive

“That means realigning our network and reducing our manufacturing capacity, so that we can position Pfizer for the next phase of growth across biopharmaceuticals and our diversified business portfolio.

“The restructuring of our global plant network is critical to our efforts to remain competitive, so that we can continue to meet patient needs and expand the access and affordability of our medicines,” Mr Ricciardi added.

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