Pfizer promises to keep British research jobs in the country

Pfizer Inc.'s chief executive Ian Read on Tuesday acknowledged that a potential takeover of AstraZeneca would lead to job losses, but it assured that the company's British research jobs would be kept in the country.

The U. S.-based Pfizer has proposed a £63 billion ($106 billion) takeover bid for Britain's AstraZeneca, triggering speculation that the deal would throw thousands of its workers out of work.

Testifying before the UK's Parliament's Business Innovation & Skills Committee yesterday, Mr. Read described potential job cuts as an inevitable outcome of the deal, but he didn't provide specifics on the number of potential job losses.

However, he promised that Pfizer would honor its promise to keep 20 per cent of its global research & development (R&D) workforce in the UK.

Trying to pacify skeptical lawmakers, he said, "There will be some job cuts somewhere, that's part of being more efficient. Whereabouts in the world I cannot say. We are a highly ethical company. We keep our promises."

But, critics repeatedly attacked Pfizer, pointing out the American company's ruthless track record. They accused the company of purchasing foreign companies and then downsizing them.

Pfizer has also written to PM David Cameron to underscore its commitments and promises it made as part of the takeover bid. Business Secretary Vince Cable said the letter was "a basis for negotiation" and not an indication that the government was in favour of the bid.