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Brexit leads to job losses at Haverhill pharmaceutical plant

Sanofi's site in Rookwood Way, Haverhill (2759002)
Sanofi's site in Rookwood Way, Haverhill (2759002)

Jobs will be axed at Sanofi’s site in Haverhill as a direct consequence of the UK leaving the European Union.

The pharmaceutical group has confirmed that it plans to transfer several activities from its Haverhill plant to alternative EU sites outside of the UK.

This step has to be made to enable Sanofi, which has been at Rookwood Way in Haverhill since 1982, to ‘adhere to the regulatory requirement for medicines used in the EU.’

A spokeswoman for Sanofi said: “We will be transferring Qualified Person (QP) release, Quality Control (QC) testing and Label and Packaging for all medicines destined for the EU.

“This will lead to 12 planned job losses across several functions by summer 2020 although we are doing all we can to mitigate redundancies where possible.”

The primary purpose and legal responsibility of the role of the Qualified Person is to certify batches of medicinal product prior to release for sale and placing on the market.

This is a requirement under European regulations.

The spokeswoman added that Sanofi’s obligation is to ‘ensure that it can continue to supply its medicines to all patients who need them both in the UK and across the EU from the first day of Brexit, which will be March 29, 2019.

She went on to say: “In the absence of any transition agreement, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will deem the UK to be a “third country”.

“This means we need to adhere to the regulatory requirement for medicines used in the EU to be Qualified Person (QP) release and Quality Control (QC) tested in an EU country.

“To transfer these activities from the UK to the EU takes more than 12 months and it is inevitable that we had to pre-emptively make this decision to ensure there is no disruption for our patients.

“There will be no changes to Haverhill’s current manufacturing operations and it will continue all other activities for medicines destined for markets outside the European Union.”

The Rookwood Way site has around 300 staff and manufactures Sevelamer Hydrochloride and Sevelamer Carbonate, which are the active ingredients in Renagel® and Renvela® respectively.

A continuous manufacturing process allows Sanofi to produce large volumes of the medicines.

The Haverhill site is also a testing, label and packaging centre for secondary operations for the company’s rare disease, transplant and oncology products including its treatments for the rare genetic disorders; Pompe Disease, Fabry Disease, Gaucher Disease and MPS1.