"What we are witnessing here is the haemorrhaging of the lifeblood of the British pharmaceuticals industry", said the chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry today.
Richard Pike said that today's news on Pfizer was a "devastating economic blow for the UK, will undermine the pharmaceuticals industry and a tragedy for the families of those losing their jobs in Kent."
The 2400 jettisoned jobs at Sandwich will be added to the worrying roll call of nearly 6000 that went over the last 12 months from a cluster of companies including Astra Zeneca, GSK, Vectura, MSD, Aptuit and Qinetiq.
"This rips out a major part of the UK's scientific infrastructure. The Government must act now to keep these highly-skilled scientific jobs in this country.
"If this had been a High Street bank the Government would be talking about 'too big to fail'. One in every five pounds of the British GDP stems from chemical sciences, and the pharmaceuticals industry has been a crown jewel in the UK's economy.
"There is a cruel irony here that only last week that the science minister launched the UN International Year of Chemistry in the House of Commons, when the success of the UK chemistry community was celebrated."
In September the Business secretary Vince Cable promised "to provide a magnet to attract overseas investors to the UK" and cited Pfizer as a company attracted to the UK by our strong research base.