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Drug maker Viatris to close W.Va. plant employing 1,500

December 11, 2020 GMT

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Pharmaceutical company Viatris will close its manufacturing plant in Morgantown, eliminating 1,500 jobs in the state as part of global cuts weeks after a merger.

“It is devastating news to the northern part of the state,” Gov. Jim Justice said Friday.

He said his office was blindsided by the news Thursday and was hoping to salvage some of the jobs through talks with company management. The plan calls for closing the facility by the end of July 2021.

After an afternoon call with company executives, Justice said in a statement “there was nothing we could do for them to reverse course.”

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He added that the state and Viatris will work to find a new operator at the factory, which has been running since 1965.

“We were given no notice that there was even a problem, and nobody came to me to say, ‘This is what we need to keep going,’” said Justice, a billionaire businessman with ventures in coal and hospitality.

Viatris was formerly known as Mylan, a generic drug company that merged with Pfizer’s Upjohn business and was rebranded in November. It is headquartered in Pittsburgh.

CEO Michael Goettler said in a statement that it aims at at least $1 billion in worldwide reductions before 2024 to “maximize long-term value creation for shareholders” and customers.

“This is devastating news for the hundreds of hardworking individuals who worked at Mylan that make up the plant’s workforce and the entire community—especially during the holiday season,” said West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito.

Sen. Joe Manchin said the news is “heartbreaking” and added “it is incredibly unfortunate for a company founded in West Virginia to close any of its locations in the state.”