The news drew strong reaction from local officials.
“I am dismayed and greatly disappointed by the announcement from Novartis Pharmaceuticals that it will be closing its Suffern plant over the next three years," said Rockland County Legislature Chairman Alden H. Wolfe. " This is a staggering loss of local jobs,affecting the livelihood of the plant’s entire workforce that includes over 200 New York residents. The closure will have significant economic impact on our local community, from the affected employees and small businesses to the Village, Town, School District and County. I’m committed to working with government officials and the business community to see that the vacated space returns to its full potential, an important factor to the long-term economic health of Rockland County.”
"I do have very real concerns," said Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee. "We are not only losing the opportunity for employment for members of our communities. This will impact on the municipalities and a very real concern is the impact on the Ramapo Central School Dsitrict. That could be a couple of million dollars in lost (tax revenue) for them. That is something serious and I will have to somehow find a way to respond in the community. I will be speaking to officials and leadership to discuss how I can be of assistance."
Rockland County Executive Ed Day expressed his hope that another company can be found to make use of the site.
"While I am disappointed by the company’s decision to close operations in Rockland County, I understand Novartis will work aggressively to help displaced employees secure transfers to other locations," Day said. "We are hopeful the site can be used by another firm in the near term.
"Rockland County can learn from this. It’s more important than ever that we find ways to grow our economy, keep existing jobs in our county and also attract new ones, creating a better future."
According to Novartis spokeswoman Julie Massow, the closing will begin in the second quarter of 2014 and be completed some time in 2016 or 2017 and it will impact all 525 employees at that location. Approximately 280 of the employees live in New York State.
"All impacted associates will be treated fairly and with respect," Massow said. "Where possible, associates will be redeployed to other Novartis sites. A comprehensive support package aligned with the company policy will be available as well as outplacement and other support services.
"Suffern has supplied the Novartis network, its customers and patients with quality products for many years and we acknowledge and appreciate the significant contributions our associates have made to the organization. This difficult decision was a strategic choice made to optimize our manufacturing infrastructure."
Massow said that the loss of exclusivity of Diovan led to a reduction in future production from the Suffern site.
"Consequently the site’s future volumes would be significantly below the minimum required to operate it cost effectively," Massow said. "As such, Novartis has made the difficult, but necessary, decision to close pharmaceutical operations in Suffern."