April 20, 2018 / 5:07 PM / a month ago

Mylan cuts 15 pct of workforce at West Virginia plant

April 20 (Reuters) - Generic drugmaker Mylan NV on Friday announced layoffs of about 15 percent of its workforce at a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Morgantown, West Virginia.

The company, which had faced intense criticism and political scrutiny over price hikes for its life-saving EpiPen emergency allergy treatment, said the Morgantown plant “needed to be rightsized to be less complex” for continued operations.

The layoffs involved more than 400 employees represented by a United Steel Workers local union, reported WAJR, a Morgantown radio station.

Mylan said the affected employees were primarily in operations. It said it continues to employ about 3,000 people in West Virginia.

“We remain committed to a U.S. manufacturing base and plan to continue making the majority of the medicines we supply to the U.S in the U.S.,” Mylan said in a statement.

Generic drugmakers have seen profits shrink due to intensifying pricing pressure on the low-cost pharmaceuticals.

Mylan’s bottom line has also been hit by its decision to sell a generic EpiPen for about half the price of the branded product in response to public outrage in 2016. Consumers saw the price for a pack of two auto-injectors rise sixfold to $600 in less than a decade, making them unaffordable for a growing number of families.

The Morgantown plant is not involved in EpiPen production. EpiPens are manufactured for Mylan by Pfizer Inc at a plant in St. Louis, which has experienced production problems that have led to shortages in some international markets, including Canada and Britain. (Reporting by Bill Berkrot, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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