AstraZeneca’s potential takeover by Pfizer may lead to thousands of job cuts

The potential takeover of British pharmaceuticals firm AstraZeneca by American drugs giant Pfizer has raised concerns about the future of British firm's employees.

Pfizer, well-known for its erectile dysfunction treatment Viagra, has confirmed that it is preparing a £60 billion bid for AstraZeneca. Pfizer CEO Ian Read has already admitted that if the takeover bid succeeds there would be no guarantees that thousands of manufacturing jobs at the British firm would remain in Britain.

Pfizer doesn't enjoy a good reputation in Britain. In 2011, the American drugs giant had closed its main research plant in Kent, throwing as many as 2,400 people out of jobs.

A spokesperson for the GMB trade union said the potential deal would see Pfizer shifting British jobs to the Far East, which would not be good for the firm's workers as well as the British economy.

Business Secretary Vince Cable recently said that he had already talked to Pfizer chief about the importance of high-skilled jobs and long-term investment for the country.

Speaking on the topic, Mr. Cable said, "My priority is ensuring there are high-skilled jobs and long-term investment in research and development in the UK. The chief executive of Pfizer has informed me of his intentions, and I have emphasised the importance of these points."

London-based AstraZeneca has already rejected Pfizer's two offers this year, saying the American drugs giant 'significantly undervalued' its business. Now, Pfizer has 28 days to either make a firm bid or walk away.

A potential Pfizer-AstraZeneca merger would create the world's biggest pharmaceuticals company, worth more than £150 billion.