Pfizer has announced its IKKT and Aurangabad plants in India will close ‘as soon as possible in 2019’ in a move affecting almost 6% of its manufacturing workforce.

The two sites have already ceased production, Pfizer confirmed, after a review found the sites were ‘not viable’ following ‘very significant long term loss of product demand’. IKKT, near Chennai, accounts for around 1000 employees in Pfizer’s 30,000-strong global manufacturing staff, with a further 700 in Aurangabad. The plants focused solely on antibiotic drugs for export, with IKKT specialising in injectable cephalosporin and Maxipime, and both plants producing penems and penicillin.

Both sites were acquired by the pharma giant in its $17 billion (£11 billion) buyout of Hospira in 2015. The IKKT plant temporarily suspended operations last year after a visit from the US Food and Drug Administration, which found problems with its microbiology laboratory, standard operating procedures and discrepancies in test sample weights.

The closures come three years after operations ceased at Pfizer’s site in Thane, which was initially commissioned in the 1960s. However, Pfizer stated it remained committed to its presence in India, such as its current expansion at its Vizag (Visakhapatnam) site, which exports to the US ‘and eventually we expect to Canada’.