Boehringer cutting German workforce by 600 but production jobs safe for now

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Fixed-term jobs brought in to remediate manufacturing problems at Ingelheim site set to go. Image: Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH
Fixed-term jobs brought in to remediate manufacturing problems at Ingelheim site set to go. Image: Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH

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Hundreds of workers brought in to help fix manufacturing issues at a Boehringer Ingelheim facility will not be affected despite the firm looking to shave 600 jobs in a €450m ($580m) cost-cutting initiative.

In response to declining revenues, Boehringer-Ingelheim announced in August​ it was looking to cut operational costs by 15% in its native Germany. Today the firm has revealed this will equate to a saving of €450m and would include a reduction in the workforce of between 500 and 600 positions by the end of 2016.

The cuts in Germany apply to all parts of the company but for production and biopharmaceutical manufacturing the main focus is to reduce costs by means other than workforce reduction, spokesperson Julia Loeffelsend told

The firm received a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Warning Letter from May 2013​ which led to “some 200 specialists being additionally employed in manufacturing and quality organisations at the Boehringer Ingelheim production site,” ​near Mainz she said, many on fixed-term contracts.

“The current job cuts will not involve the part of the company committed to the Warning Letter issue, neither are job cuts planned in the Biopharma section”​ she confirmed.

“Overall, there are 500-600 positions in Germany that have to be reduced by the end of 2016. This will be achieved by natural fluctuation, agreed retirements and the expiry of fixed-term contracts.”

The manufacturing deficiencies at the plant were further cited in a complete response letter in March​ for the Boehringer and Eli Lilly joint venture type 2 diabetes drug candidate empagliflozin, and led to the firm investing a further €330m into remediation efforts.

However, the plant received an FDA closeout letter on June 2 2014​ lifting the warning, and two months later the Boehringer-Lilly drug – known as Jardiance – received FDA approval​.

The Ingelheim facility – which serves as the firm’s headquarters - also manufactures the respiratory drug Spiriva and the anticoagulant Pradaxa. In Germany, Boehringer also has a manufacturing facility in Dortmund and Biberach.

The original article implied the 200 workers drafted in at the plant would be among the 600 jobs to go. Boehringer Ingelheim has since clarified this is not the case despite many being on fixed term contracts: "The some 200 specialists are not involved in the job cuttings programme,  independent from their contracts being fixed-termed or not,"​ Loeffelsend confirmed.

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