• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Unions ask Sweden to stand up against Pfizer

TT/The Local/at · 14 May 2014, 10:56

Published: 14 May 2014 10:56 GMT+02:00

"It would be deeply regrettable if this branch of Swedish industrial culture, with strong skills and research in the country, were to be crushed by short-term interests where tax planning rather than new medicines is the driving factor," the Unionen, Ledarna, and Akademikerföreningen unions said in a letter sent to the Swedish government on Wednesday. 

The union represent staff at the Anglo-Swedish firm's sites in Mölndal and Södertälje. 

Also on Wednesday, Pfizer head Ian Read criticized the Swedish prime minister for intimating that Pfizer had broken promises to keep Swedish jobs when it took over Pharmacia. 

Facing question from British politicians, Read said Pfizer had to scrap a planned research centre in Sweden when the drug meant to be developed there did not get approval. He said Pfizer had not broken its words, instead detailing the circumstances that had changed.

Politicians in the UK and Sweden alike have expressed concern that if Pfizer takes over Astra-Zeneca - which British media often refer to only as a British company - there will be job losses. The lower tax rate in the UK, compared to the US, has also featured heavily in the debate.

On Sunday, Sussex University economic professor Mariana Mazzucato wrote in The Observer that one could compare big drugs to big banks - companies that reap the reward of public money but cares less for said public's well-being.

"What makes this dynamic particularly problematic for the taxpayer is that the knowledge behind (...) Pfizer products – the key to their long-run profits – has been virtually bankrolled by that same taxpayer," wrote , author of The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Private v Public Sector Myth.

Despite a Pfizer promise to keep 20 percent of its total research staff in Britain for the next five years - with no such pledges made to Sweden - Nobel laureate and Royal Society head Paul Nurse publicly warned British lawmakers that Pfizer's promises were vague and inadequate. 

Story continues below…

The British fears appear to echo Swedish experience of the Pfizer take-over of Pharmacia, which the US company has defended in public since the remarks made by Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt about his worries for the future.

Pfizer told the TT news agency that it had cut 2,700 jobs after taking over Pharmacia in 2009. Today, 500 people work for Pfizer in Sweden. Most of the original 3,300 jobs were in production, with sites having since been taken out of operation or sold. 

TT/The Local/at (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sweden halves migration forecast figures for 2016
Refugees and other travellers arriving in Gothenburg last year. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

The Swedish Migration Agency has cut its predictions for how many asylum seekers they expect will come to Sweden this year.

Royal husband: 'Britain should not leave the EU'
Sweden's Princess Madeleine and her British-American husband Chris O'Neill. Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

What does this British-American husband of a Swedish princess think of Brexit and Hillary Clinton?

Struggling Ericsson pulls plug on CEO Vestberg
Hans Vestberg presents Ericsson's second quarter report last week. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson has fired its long-standing CEO Hans Vestberg, the company announced on Monday morning.

Private holiday rentals boom in Sweden
A youth hostel in Sundsvall, central Sweden. Photo: Helena Landstedt / TT

More tourists in Sweden are choosing to rent private homes from the likes of Airbnb – but the hotel industry is just fine.

My Swedish Career
'Fashion is this big industry that can really do better'
Social entrepreneur Stefanie Smith. Photo: Elinor Magnusson

The Local talks to US social entrepreneur Stefanie Smith about transparent fashion and why Sweden's startup scene is about more than just tech.

Sweden to sizzle in the sun for a few more days
The beach at Båstad on Saturday. Photo: TT

The heatwave that hit most of Sweden last week is set to continue until Wednesday at least, according to Swedish weather forecaster, SMHI.

Swedish ex-prime minister Thorbjorn Fälldin dead at 90
Fälldin in 1981. Photo: TT/FLT-PICA

Thorbjorn Fälldin, the former farmer who became prime minister in Sweden's first non-Social Democratic government since World War II, has died at the age of 90.

Swedish police fear serial rapist on loose in Malmö
The attacker is thought to be in his mid-twenties and had been seen riding his bike in the area prior to the incident. Photo:TT

The rape of a 14-year-old girl in Malmö has led police to conjecture that there may be a serial rapist operating in the southern Swedish city.

Stockholm Pokémon hunter impaled on metal fence spike
Another Swede playing Pokémon Go in Stockholm. Photo: Izabelle Nordfjell/TT

He tried to climb a fence to find more Pokémon.

Video
When Alicia Vikander taught us to put our pen in the bottle
Swedish actress Alicia Vikander and US talkshow host Jimmy Fallon. Photo: Tonight Show/NBC/Screenshot

We're not even sure if that's a euphemism or not.

Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
Gallery
People-watching: July 22nd-24th
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
The Local Voices
The Jewish Syrian who dreams of rebuilding his country
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
Blog updates

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 

11 July

Swedish quizzes (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I have created some quizzes you can take online to test your Swedish skills. Here…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
Politics
What Sweden's home secretary thinks of Britain's new PM
Gallery
Property of the week: Smedjebacken, Dalarna
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
Politics
WATCH: A very Swedish take on Brexit...
National
Swede's fury at Daily Mail's Bråvalla 'lies'
Gallery
People-watching: July 8th-10th
National
Sweden and Denmark trolled each other on Twitter and it's hilarious
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
National
ANALYSIS: Why Swedes are talking more about immigration than before
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,334
jobs available