Baxter lays off 91 in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 September 2013 at 12:00 am

Company is working to clear FDA hurdles

MEDINA – One of Orleans County’s largest employers announced on Thursday it was laying off 91 employees.

Baxter International, owner of the former Sigma International on Park Avenue, will continue to employ 370 full-time employees and 70 contractual workers in Medina.

The company is working to clear regulatory hurdles through the Food and Drug Administration. Once it gains FDA approval, Baxter expects it will be able to bring back some of the workers, but the company declined to say how many could be rehired in the future.

“Three hundred seventy employees will continue to work for the company in Medina, which remains critical to Baxter’s ability to continue supporting customers who rely on the SIGMA Spectrum Infusion pump to provide life-saving and life-sustaining care,” said John O’Malley, company spokesman. “We have notified employees directly and rolled out transition services to assist them at this time.”

Baxter became a part-owner of the SIGMA Spectrum Infusion pump in 2009. Last year became the full owner of the product. Baxter expects it will meet the FDA regulations, but the government agency may insist on a change to the product. If that happens, it doesn’t make sense for the company to manufacture a product that could be obsolete, company officials said.

“Baxter anticipates resuming manufacturing of the SIGMA Spectrum infusion pump in Medina based on the clearance of our 510(k) (regulatory) submission with the FDA,” O’Malley said. “We will not speculate on future employment plans, but will continue to assess facility and staffing needs in the future.”

When Baxter first partnered with SIGMA in 2009, there were 225 employees working on the smart infusion pump in Medina. Even with the cuts, Baxter has been able to help boost the workforce by nearly 150 people at the site.

“Our overall story has been one of growth in Medina,” O’Malley said.

The company is respected in the community. On Sept. 14 it accepted the “Business of the Year” award from the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce.