independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Workers at mercy of giants

PFIZER. MSD. Baxter. First they giveth, then they taketh away.

The Government has poured money into fostering long-term relationships with these companies. In July, Richard Bruton announced the State will plough €300m into a new Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre at the University of Limerick. Yet we are a drop in the ocean to Pfizer, which employs 90,000 people .

Until we reduce our dependency on it and other massive multinationals, Ireland's 66,000 pharmaceutical workers, and all those future science graduates, will be at their mercy.

The Government has been pushing incentives for biotechnology firms. Biotechnology produces drugs that are harder to replicate in low-cost economies. Progress is being made – Pfizer's plant at Grange Castle in Dublin, for example, is dedicated to biotechnology. Technology transfer offices are being set up at our universities. If this kind of initiative had been pushed 10 years ago, Ireland would have a more vibrant indigenous pharmaceutical industry – but it wasn't.

And now workers for some of the richest companies in the world are hearing, just weeks before Christmas, that they face redundancy.

Irish Independent

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