Merck Ends API Production at Plant in Puerto Rico

Merck Ends API Production at Plant in Puerto Rico

November 18th, 2013 // 2:26 pm @

Merck announced last week that it was ending API production at one of its key plants in Puerto Rico. This is a major blow to the city of Barceloneta, which was once considered a major pharmaceutical hub there.

Merck stated that the production at the plant will be ended in 2014, as part of a global reorganization. Merck stated that formulations and packaging needs at the plant will be continued by a third party.

Merck also is planning to consolidate some of its formulation operations at another plant in Arecibo, with a third plant in Las Piedras. Those operations are going to be transferred to another third party at the conclusion of 2016.

The managing director for Merck’s operations in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean stated last week that it is too early to comment on the numbers of people who will lose their jobs. He noted that Merck has put more than $100 million into the Law Piedras plant, and is one of just two Merck plants around the world that is specially dedicated to the development and launching of new drugs. He noted that new manufacturing technology will help the Las Piedras plant to launch three new drugs soon.

The company will continue to have a strong presence in Puerto Rico, and has been in the country for 65 years.

Merck has three plants on the island and it employs over 1000 people.

Other former Merck executives say that investing in the Law Piedras plant will be a boon for the economy of the country.

Things have changed for Merck in Puerto Rico since 2009. At that time, Merck said that it would engage in a $65 million expansion of the plants in Barceloneta that would employ over 200 people. But the pharma industry in Puerto Rico has declined since then.

The citizens of Barceloneta will feel the effects of Merck leaving, according to the mayor’s office. Many of the workers will now depend on government for assistance.

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