PLATTSBURGH — Pfizer has exercised its option to re-acquire the Rouses Point facility from Akrimax and plans on remaining for another two years.
The change will mean, however, that about 60 of 400 workers will lose their jobs in the next few weeks, as Akrimax is leaving.
"We realize this decision will negatively affect a number of our colleagues, and we will assist them through this tough transition," Pfizer spokesman Chris Loder said Tuesday.
Akrimax purchased the facility in January of 2008 from Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.
Wyeth was then bought by Pfizer in October 2009.
Wyeth had announced in 2005 that it would be pulling out of the Rouses Point facility. Then, with about 1,250 workers, it was the largest private-sector employer in Clinton County.
STILL SEEKS BUYER
Under Pfizer, operations at the plant remained in place as the pharmaceutical firm leased manufacturing space from Akrimax.
Loder said Akrimax sought to expand the facility and bring in more business, but due to a difficult market and an overabundance of facilities worldwide, the company determined that the Rouses Point plant would not be in its long-term plans.
While Pfizer agreed to buy back the plant, Loder said, the company will continue to look for another buyer.
Details of the re-acquisition were not released.
In the meantime, the manufacture of Pfizer medicines, including Prempro, will continue through 2013.
"This is a good piece of news for the community," Congressman Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh) said Tuesday. "But who knows how the market will change in 2013?"
The 60 workers who will be let go have been helping Akrimax develop new business.
'COULD BE WORSE'
Officials from Akrimax could not be reached for comment.
North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said the region had high hopes for Akrimax.
"However, they have not been able to develop sufficient business to support a 1-million-square-foot complex, due in part to the economy and to accelerating changes in the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector since they began," Douglas said.
"Fortunately, we have a few years of commitment by Pfizer to continue their operations in Rouses Point, and we are fully committed to working with them, Empire State Development, the village and others going forward."
Rouses Point Mayor George Rivers said the Village Board will meet Tuesday, July 5, and discuss the situation.
"We'll figure out what we can do," Rivers said.
"When you lose 60 jobs, you are bound to feel it, but it could be worse. They could be closing up the plant and locking the door. At least we have two more years with them."
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