Pfizer to downsize local plant


By Corey Davis
Staff Writer

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Pfizer Rocky Mount pharmaceutical plant is downsizing because of recent changes in market demand for certain sterile injectables and IV solution products, company officials said.

Kim Bencker, head of communications for Pfizer Global Supply, said the company will reduce manufacturing volume and associated staffing levels at the legacy Hospira Rocky Mount facility in the second half of 2016.

Pfizer employs more than 2,000 workers at the Rocky Mount facility, which is the largest private employer in the Twin Counties. The Rocky Mount plant draws workers from a radius beyond Nash and Edgecombe counties. In 2015, Pfizer acquired Hospira for $17 billion.

In 2013, a new pharmaceutical lab was built in Rocky Mount with an investment of more than $200 million and the hiring of an additonal 200 workers. 

“Based on current information, we expect the production level changes will impact a few hundred full-time roles in the second half of 2016,” Bencker said. “The Rocky Mount site currently utilizes the services of contract employees, who will also be impacted. As part of the integration of Pfizer and Hospira, we continue to evaluate our combined manufacturing network to make sure that we were operating most effectively, using our capacity most efficiently and aligning production with product demand.”

Bencker said previously announced investments in a new state-of-the-art sterile injectable manufacturing facility and new quality laboratory at the site will continue as planned. In May 2015, Hospira officials announced a multiyear project to build a $159 million, 58,000-square-foot-art injectable manufacturing facility in Rocky Mount, but no additional jobs would be created by the new investment.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, company officials said the facility would bring new capabilities and technologies to the Rocky Mount plant, featuring five new filling lines and manufacture injectable vials, syringes and ampules.

“Pfizer does expect further products will transfer to other lines and facilities, some of which will be to other sites and some of which will be to the modernized Rocky Mount facilities under construction,” Bencker said. “Pfizer will continue to adjust staffing levels to align with the supply of necessary critical medicine. The Rocky Mount site remains an important site in Pfizer’s sterile injectable supply network.”