Pfizer Inc. is the largest drug company in the world. It has facilities here in the state at Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Portage, and Holland. Yesterday, the company announced that it is restructuring to eliminate $4 billion in expenses by 2008 to return to double-digit growth in profits. The means to that end is the reduction of its research and development at Pfizer. As a consequence, the manufacturing plant in Holland will be closed, pharmaceutical research programs in Kalamazoo and Portage will be terminated, and drug development in Ann Arbor will move to Connecticut.
Pfizer's decision will effect up to 8,500 "bio-tech" jobs in Michigan and cut out much of the substance in the state's mostly imaginary "life sciences" corridor. Pharmaceutical R&D is one of those many activities the Michigan's economic development bureaucrats and boosters lumped into the "life sciences" to beef up the state's bio-tech credentials. Now the biggest chunk of that in Michigan will soon be gone. So much for Guv Jen traipsing around the globe touting Michigan's bio-tech future. Maybe she should have been minding the store and not let another big employer slip out of the state.
Better yet, the governor should be sticking to basics and knock down the impediments to doing business in general in this state. Of course, that would mean giving up the political power game of picking winners and losers. It would also mean admitting that the Michigan "life sciences" corridor is the emperor with no clothes. Not likely so long as there's opportunity to stick the taxpayers with the bill for Guv Jen's big-ticket bio-tech/high-tech program.