Key fu­ture is­sues

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - LIFE SCIENCES -

Pfizer, along with a num­ber of other pharma com­pa­nies in Cork, is fac­ing two key is­sues, which are the need to main­tain com­pet­i­tive­ness and to con­tinue to at­tract and re­tain suit­ably qual­i­fied staff.

“Our two main chal­lenges are: firstly, the com­pet­i­tive­ness of the Pfizer Cork sites — that is, mak­ing sure that our port­fo­lio of medicines is man­aged in a com­pet­i­tive man­ner,” ex­plains Sea­mus Fives, site lead for Pfizer Ire­land Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

“The se­cond chal­lenge we are look­ing at is to en­sure that we con­tinue to have well qual­i­fied, ex­cel­lent col­leagues,” he ex­plains.

Dr Der­mot Kelly, Di­rec­tor of Reg­u­la­tory Af­fairs at Pfizer, ob­serves that the com­pany and its em­ploy­ees are strug­gling with an in­ad­e­quate road net­work, rou­tinely spend­ing an in­or­di­nate amount of time sim­ply get­ting to and from the cam­pus dur­ing peak traf­fic pe­ri­ods. This, he warns, could po­ten­tially im­pact on Pfizer Rin­gask­iddy’s abil­ity to at­tract key per­son­nel.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Dr. Kelly high­lights that on­go­ing in­fra­struc­ture is­sues could pos­si­bly im­pact on any fu­ture de­ci­sions around ex­pan­sion at the site.

Although it takes just 15 or 20 min­utes to drive from Dou­glas to Rin­gask­iddy off­peak, the same jour­ney can take up to four times longer at peak com­mut­ing hours dur­ing the work­ing week.

De­spite the deep con­cerns of Pfizer, other phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies and the gen­eral busi­ness com­mu­nity in Rin­gask­iddy, i t seems that the area’s no­to­ri­ous traf­fic con­ges­tion prob­lem is set to con­tinue for many years to come.

De­mand for key people

Mean­while, ac­cord­ing to Sea­mus Fives, the de­mand by the bio- phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try for key per­son­nel such as chem­i­cal and process en­gi­neers, and chemists is out­strip­ping sup­ply. “For us, keep­ing this site com­pet­i­tive, both within the Pfizer net­work and the broader generic man­u­fac­tur­ing arena, is cru­cial”, Kelly said.

Skilled, top- drawer em­ploy­ees are cru­cial to main­tain­ing com­pet­i­tive­ness at the fa­cil­ity, he says: “Hav­ing a high qual­ity work­force here is very im­por­tant.”

He points to the Port of Cork ex­pan­sion, where a new ter­mi­nal is un­der con­struc­tion, mov­ing a sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion of Port of Cork ac­tiv­ity from Tivoli to the Rin­gask­iddy area, thereby adding even more traf­fic to the con­gested road by the end of 2018.

Maria Walsh, Pfizer Health In­dex 2017 am­bas­sador, at the re­cent launch of the 12th Pfizer Health In­dex, which is an an­nual sur­vey which charts health per­cep­tions, at­ti­tudes and be­hav­iours of Ir­ish adults. Fo­cus­ing this year on the theme of work­place health, the find­ings showed that work­place stress is a key health con­cern for Ir­ish work­ers.

Jan­ina Zam­brzy­cka, 2016 win­ner of the Niall Con­don Pfizer Process Safety Award, with Niall J Con­don, Pfizer’s vice- pres­i­dent for Bio­Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Man­u­fac­tur­ing Op­er­a­tions, at the launch of the in­au­gu­ral Niall Con­don Pfizer Process Safety Award.

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