Innovation Asset Blog

Patent expiry puts Irish jobs on the line

Pharmaceutical manufacturers in Ireland are preparing to learn a hard lesson regarding the relationship between patent management and employment prospects. As Pfizer continues to sort out the implications of its impending patent cliffs, the drugmaker has decided to eliminate nearly 180 positions from plants across the European country.

According to Reuters, approximately 25,000 jobs are tied to the Irish pharmaceutical sector, with eight of the 10 largest manufacturers currently operating in the country. Generating nearly 30 percent of total exports, the IP-intensive industry has been a consistent bright spot in a struggling domestic economy.

However, company officials contend that lost patent protections have brought new realities that demand regrettable short-term actions.

"Patent expiry means greater competition which impacts global demand, and we need to readjust the scale of our manufacturing operations," Pfizer vice president Paul Duffy told the Belfast Telegraph. "This has been a very difficult decision to make and we understand the impact of this on our colleagues and their families."

Similar scenarios brought the loss of nearly 800 jobs in 2010, according to the Belfast Telegraph, and industry leaders are growing increasingly frustrated with the government's inability to effectively monetize an area that they have been told is crucial to Ireland's "smart economy."

Peter Ackerman

Peter Ackerman

Founder & CEO, Innovation Asset Group, Inc.