MPs to demand Pfizer protect British scientists’ jobs for at least a decade

MPs to demand Pfizer protect British scientists’ jobs for at least a decade

Pfizer boss Ian Read to face parliamentary scrutiny this week over the proposed £60bn takeover of AstraZeneca.

MPs will this week demand that the US drugs company Pfizer guarantee British scientists’ jobs for at least 10 years as its boss Ian Read flies in to face parliamentary scrutiny over his proposed £60bn takeover of AstraZeneca.

Andrew Miller, the Labour MP who chairs the science and technology select committee that will question Read this week, said a Pfizer promise to keep 20% of the research and development workforce in Britain for five years was not enough.

Five years is no time in drug development,” Miller said. “A molecule that’s discovered today will not be an active ingredient in a medicine that you or I take for a minimum of 10 years. Given the time frames of development in pharmaceuticals, we need very, very long-term commitments.”

Politicians, unions and scientists are concerned that the inevitable cost-cutting after a takeover by the New York-based company could eliminate thousands of highly skilled jobs and undermine Britain’s long-term science base.

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