Pfizer: Investing in Ireland for More than Thirty Years




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Video title: Pfizer: Investing in Ireland for More than Thirty Years
Released on: July 08, 2008. © PharmaVentures Ltd
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In this most recent instalment of the Regional Report, Fintan Walton talks to Eleanor Garvey, General Manager, Pfizer Dublin, to find out why the world’s largest pharmaceutical company is continuing to invest in Ireland. Pfizer’s history in Ireland goes back over thirty years and they now support six separate manufacturing sites in Ireland - one in Dublin and five in Cork. The atorvastatin found in their best-selling cholesterol drug, Lipitor, is manufactured in API facilities in Ireland and a large number of the tablets are also created there and exported throughout the world. Ms. Garvey feels that, in addition to the attractive tax environment, Ireland offers the workforce, the infrastructure, and the education opportunities required by a company such as Pfizer for its manufacturing operations. In addition, under the guidelines of the Irish Medicines Board, the country’s track record on compliance is outstanding. With plans for a new biologics facility in the country, Pfizer sees great potential for the future growth of its operations in Ireland as the country will continue to play a vital role in the company’s global supply chain.
History of Pfizer in Ireland.
Fintan Walton:
Welcome to the regional report here in Dublin Ireland. On this show I have Eleanor Garvey General manager at Pfizer Dublin. Welcome to the show Eleanor Garvey.
Eleanor Garvey:
Thank you.
Fintan Walton:
Pfizer is one of the major pharmaceuticals companies in the world. Its history in Ireland goes back over 30 years. Could you tell us a little bit about how Pfizer started and its evolution over the last few years?
Eleanor Garvey:
Sure, Pfizer started with an active pharmaceutical ingredient facility in Ringaskiddy in Cork and has acquired through the acquisition of Warner-Lambert [PharmaDeals ID = 5536], Pharmacia [PharmaDeals ID = 10948] Additional API facilities in Cork had tapped this plant and they stare our product facility in Dublin and its currently expanding its operations again with a new biotechnology investment in Cork.
Fintan Walton:
All right so it has ended up with 5 or 6?
Eleanor Garvey:
That's correct yeah.
Fintan Walton:
Different facilities?
Eleanor Garvey:
Six different facilities manufacturing facilities.
Fintan Walton:
Within Ireland?
Eleanor Garvey:
Within, plus also the global financial shared services and treasury centre in Dublin as well so quite a lot of Pfizer activity in Ireland.
Ireland's attractiveness for companies like Pfizer.
Fintan Walton:
So what makes Ireland attractive to a company like Pfizer?
Eleanor Garvey:
Well from a manufacturing perspective I suppose the establishment of the pharmaceutical sector in Ireland, the experience the people have, the educational support, the support of organizations like the IDA, like the Enterprise Ireland FAS organizations which educate and support the pharmaceutical sector plus obviously there is an attractive tax environment and a lot a lot of experience and support services as well within the country.
Fintan Walton:
Right so for a pharmaceutical company looking at coming to Ireland setting up the manufacturing facility it's the infrastructure and support is equally important as much as the tax regime?
Eleanor Garvey:
Well I say it's probably more important the infrastructure and support and also the track record of a country like Ireland which has an excellent track record in the pharmaceutical sector. There have been no for instance FDA warning letters applied to this country for the last 10 to 15 years and also merely every aspect of the pharmaceutical sector is already based in this country. So there is this very high level of experience with in the workforce and there are other tax attractive locations obviously in the world as well but I think the other infrastructural educational and experience factors really make Ireland more attractive.
Ireland's outstanding track record on compliance.
Fintan Walton:
With Pfizer as you've already indicated you are involved in the manufacturing process spectrum and including API's all the way to finished product is that correct?
Eleanor Garvey:
That's correct yes. So the single biggest product that Pfizer manufactures is a Atorvastatin API which goes into the Lipitors product. So the world supply of the Atorvastatin is supplied from the Cork facilities and the vast majority of the tablets themselves are also manufactured in one of the cork facilities and that exported throughout the world.
Fintan Walton:
So Ireland is involved in manufacturing the largest product that there in the world?
Eleanor Garvey:
Absolutely it's fundamental to the supply of Lipitors.
Fintan Walton:
Right. So clearly the pharmaceutical industry is a highly regulated?
Eleanor Garvey:
Yeah.
Fintan Walton:
Industry as we all know you've mentioned the importance of the FDA. Skill set is important in Ireland you know clearly people see that this is science strong scientific skill set here in Ireland, but when it comes to the regulatory issues those are the key issues does Ireland have a have a the right infrastructure and support to buy back?
Eleanor Garvey:
Absolutely and the pharmaceutical sector in Ireland is regulated by the Medicines board, the Irish medicines board which is part of the European regulatory structure and the medicines board has a very high reputation within regulatory circles and in fact the fact that none of the Irish pharmaceutical companies have received warning letters from the FDA and clearly reflects that. So the standards the compliance standards and the regulatory standards in this country are high.
Plans for a new biologics facility
Fintan Walton:
Right. Now Pfizer itself has had a very long history in chemistry but it is moving more and more into the biologics area too. Does Ireland still provide you with the opportunity to do that?
Eleanor Garvey:
Yes it does. In Dublin we have a bio processing facility and we have had no problems at all getting graduates with both the correct education and also the correct experience and also in Cork very recently the announce there is been an announcement of a new facility for monoclonal antibody manufacture and again it's very important that the correct educational infrastructure is in place and it is.
Fintan Walton:
So Pfizer is investing both in the manufacture of monoclonal antibodies then in Cork and also then in providing the finished product in terms of (indiscernable) up in Dublin is that right?
Eleanor Garvey:
That's right, yes, yeah.
Fintan Walton:
And obviously Pfizer had a number of choices; it could go it could locate that sort of activity anywhere in the world.
Eleanor Garvey:
Yeah.
Fintan Walton:
It wished to and you mentioned you know obviously the skill sets and so forth, did the existing manufacturing facilities with in Ireland assist to making that decision?
Eleanor Garvey:
Yes it did. Well first of all the fact that the drug product facility in Dublin is there already meant that monoclonal antibody facility could be built in close proximity and also there was a very good track record of project completion and project success.
Working with FAS and future plans of Pfizer.
Fintan Walton:
Right. Now the other thing we one of the going back to the skill set issue FAS which is one of the important training and recruitment agencies here in Ireland has recently opened up a facility in Cork for training in Bio pharma, are you working closely with FAS?
Eleanor Garvey:
Yes, Pfizer has a project with FAS at Carrigaline and we have a number of our new colleagues have participated and completed recently bio processing courses with FAS.
Fintan Walton:
Right and how important are those sort of initiatives to a company like Pfizer?
Eleanor Garvey:
Well they are extremely important particularly when you are looking at the manufacturing operations as opposed to academic sciences, so getting hands on experience in Bio processing accompanied with the theory.
Fintan Walton:
Going forward into the future for a company like a Pfizer, would Pfizer continue to re invest in Ireland?
Eleanor Garvey:
Yes Pfizer has plans to continue to re invest in Ireland and in the manufacturing and in the development sectors.
Fintan Walton:
The future looks bright for Pfizer in Ireland?
Eleanor Garvey:
The future looks bright yes.
Fintan Walton:
Thank you very much indeed Eleanor Garvey for coming on the show. Thank you very much indeed.
Eleanor Garvey
General Manager
Eleanor Garvey joined Pfizer in 2004 as Site Leader for the Dublin Sterile Operation. Prior to joining Pfizer she worked with Organon, Organon Teknika and Wyeth in a variety of start-up, production and quality roles before joining Merckgenerics manufacturing and supply business in Dublin. Eleanor Garvey holds a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Pharmacology from UCD, Ireland and diplomas in Manufacturing Technology from Trinity College in Dublin and Marketing from the Marketing Institute of Ireland.
Pfizer
Pfizer Ireland Pharmaceuticals is part of the Pfizer Global Manufacturing (PGM) division of New York-based parent company Pfizer Inc. The largest pharmaceutical company in the world, Pfizer has over 40,000 employees worldwide and sales in more than 150 countries. In 2007, Pfizer earned $48.4 billion in revenues and invested $8.1 billion in research and development. Pfizer began operating in Ireland in 1970 with a citric acid manufacturing plant at Ringaskiddy in Cork Harbour and now operates five plants in Cork and one in Dublin. Its Cork plants are involved in the development, formulation, and bulk manufacture of human pharmaceuticals and animal health care products. The Dublin plant manufactures sterile pharmaceutical products. Pfizer is heavily committed to Ireland, employing close to 2,300 people and accounting for a capital investment of well in excess of �1billion.