Waiting game for Mylan’s Morgantown plant

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A spokesman with a local union that represents approximately 900 workers at the Mylan Pharmaceuticals plant in Morgantown said Monday they were still reviewing information from the announced merger that will create a new company spun off from a merger with Pfizer’s Upjohn drug maker.

United Steelworkers Union International representative J.D. Wilson said the union was just learning of the deal along with everyone else Monday. Most of the workers at the Mylan facility are members of USW Local 8957.

Mylan laid off 500 workers at the plant in April 2018, 15 percent of the workforce.

“Following the layoffs, we will remain one of the largest employers in West Virginia with approximately 3,000 employees,” Mylan officials said at the time. “We believe our plant in Morgantown is one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities in the world. As the industry has changed and regulatory expectations have continued to evolve, we’ve realized that our Morgantown plant needed to be right-sized to be less complex.”

Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathan Rockoff said not much has been said about the future of the Morgantown operation but he said significant changes would be surprising.

“I don’t think Mylan would forsake its West Virginia heritage as part of any deal but it does seem like part of this deal will include some serious cost cutting,” Rockoff said.

The deal with Pfizer/Upjohn will given Mylan better international exposure, Rockoff said.

“Mylan has been one of the world’s biggest sellers of generic drugs, it’s footprint has largely been in the U.S. and through some deals the last few years in Europe. What Pfizer brings in additional to some well-known brands is a footprint in Asia,” Rockoff said.

Ed Harper, long-time Morgantown stock broker with Wells Fargo, said the merger could possibly be a good thing for Mylan and its workers.

“Obviously Pfizer wants to get out of the generic drug business but also recognizing that Mylan is one of the major players and I think the combination of those two will continue to live long,” Harper said. “In the pharmaceutical industry, you’re as good as your last blockbuster drug. Mylan has struggled with the EpiPen and they’re going to have to come up hopefully with a couple good generics.”

Harper said the fact that the new company will maintain Mylan’s headquarters in Pittsburgh is probably a good sign for the Morgantown plant.

He said how stocks do between now and the completion of the merger will also be key.

WAJR Reporter Mike Nolting contributed to this story. 

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