• Sweden's news in English
 

Unions ask Sweden to stand up against Pfizer

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. 

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
IN PICTURES: Swedes in 'ring of peace' protest
Photo: TT

IN PICTURES: Swedes in 'ring of peace' protest

Up to a 1000 Swedes turned out to form a human shield around Stockholm's synagogue on Friday as a protest against extremism. Here are some images from the event. READ  

Swedes in 'ring of peace' synagogue protest
Photo: TT

Swedes in 'ring of peace' synagogue protest

A human shield of up to a 1000 Swedes staged a protest against extremism outside the Stockholm synagogue Friday in response to the Copenhagen shootings earlier this month in which two people died. READ  

Swedes to form 'ring of peace' at synagogue
A ring of peace around a synagogue in Oslo. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/NTB scanpix/TT

Swedes to form 'ring of peace' at synagogue

UPDATED: Hundreds of young Swedes were set to form a 'ring of peace' around a synagogue in Stockholm on Friday afternoon, in a show of solidarity two weeks after Jews were among those targeted in a pair of deadly shootings in Copenhagen. READ  

Sweden raps 'brutal' Assyrian abductions
Assyrians citizens during a sit-in for abducted Christians in Beirut, Lebanon on Thursday. Photo: TT

Sweden raps 'brutal' Assyrian abductions

Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström has slammed the abduction of Christians in Syria earlier this week and pledged to keep supporting communities affected by the ongoing fighting in the Middle East. READ  

Escalator return stalled in Swedish capital
Commuters using some of the stationary escalators in Stockholm. Photo: TT

Escalator return stalled in Swedish capital

Commuters in Stockholm are set for more frustration next week, with 39 escalators set to remain switched off at some of the city's busiest underground stations, following an accident a fortnight ago. READ  

Copenhagen shootings
Third arrest over fatal Danish terror shootings
The window of the Copenhagen cultural centre where one man was shot. Photo: TT

Third arrest over fatal Danish terror shootings

A man has been arrested for "complicity" in the Copenhagen shootings that killed two people earlier this month, with the Swedish artist Lars Vilks among the presumed targets of the attacks. READ  

Swedish firm to fund huge Danish wind project
Vattenfall's Stockholm office. Photo: TT

Swedish firm to fund huge Danish wind project

A massive new offshore wind farm off the west coast of Denmark is being built by the state-owned Swedish company Vattenfall, it has emerged. READ  

Copenhagen shootings
Sweden artist talk halted after Denmark attacks
Swedish artist Lars Vilks. Photo: TT

Sweden artist talk halted after Denmark attacks

A planned lecture at Sweden's Karlstad University by the controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, the presumed target of the terror attack at a cultural event in Copenhagen earlier this month, has been scrapped by organisers. READ  

Surprise growth spurt for Sweden's economy
Sweden's economy is growing faster than expected. Photo: TT

Surprise growth spurt for Sweden's economy

Sweden's economy grew more than expected at the end of last year, with GDP rising by 1.1 percent between the third and fourth quarter, according to new figures from Statistics Sweden. READ  

War criminals could go unpunished in Sweden
Tora Holst, head of the International Public Prosecution Office in Stockholm. Photo: Marc Femenia/SCANPIX

War criminals could go unpunished in Sweden

War criminals could walk free in Sweden because there are too few police officers to investigate the suspected offences, prosecutors have warned. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Super cute sloth twins charm visitors to Swedish zoo
Lifestyle
Meet Sweden's first woman chef to win a Michelin star
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: February 26th - March 5th
Accelerated for Ice Music
What is Bob Dylan's guitarist doing in northern Sweden?
Features
How well do you know Sweden's top celebrity couples?
Blog updates

27 February

Editor’s blog, February 27th (The Local Sweden) »

"Our most read story this week got picked up by global media from Al Jazeera to..." READ »

 

18 February

The mysterious -s, part 2 (The Swedish Teacher) »

"-s expressing “each other” (reciprocal verbs) You have most likely used this form of the verbs..." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
Are company boards 'too white' in Sweden?
Sponsored Article
Ten tips for succeeding as a start-up in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: February 25th
Technology
Sweden is dubbed second most 'digital' nation in European Union
National
Why more Swedes want a sex change
National
The return of Sweden's Ace of Base
National
Why has Julian Assange's case been going on for so long?
National
'21' or 'IS'? Swedish police confuse birthday with Islamist extremism
National
Spring has sprung in Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Ängelholm
National
How to never miss your favourite weekly features on The Local
Business & Money
Ten Swedish start-ups you haven't heard of (yet)
National
Is Sweden home to the world's oldest living cat?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The life and career of Fredrik Reinfeldt
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Estelle through the years
National
Why are Swedish Jews worried?
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
Gallery
People-watching: February 19th-22nd
National
'Racist' bird names banned in Sweden
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Nobel prize to go under hammer
National
Swede named 'Fanny' banned from getting UK loyalty card
National
Spotlight on the Swedes that could be funding Islamists
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Gallery
People-watching: February 18th
National
Is a chocolate crime wave sweeping across Sweden?
National
What we know about the Copenhagen shootings suspect
National
Danish Ambassador: 'We'll live our lives the way we always have'
National
What does this '90s pop act have to do with a former minister?
Lifestyle
How to embrace Sweden's creamy semla bun tradition
National
Did this Swedish hotel really refuse a gay couple?
National
Why are so many escalators down on Stockholm's Metro?
Gallery
Property of the week: Kungsbacka
National
Can Zlatan's tattoo stunt help end world hunger?
Gallery
People-watching: February 14th
Lars Vilks
National
Who exactly is controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks?
Lifestyle
VIDEO: How to tackle Sweden's bizarre mating rituals
Sponsored Article
'Immigration is critical' for Stockholm’s future
Lifestyle
How to make traditional Swedish blackberry pie
National
What the weak krona means for expats and visitors to Sweden
National
What's in a Swedish meatball?
National
Spotlight on 32 Swedish Isis fighters killed in Syria and Iraq
Sponsored Article
Stockholm job fair helps immigrant entrepreneurs
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

1,007
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se