Workers to clock in for the final time today as MSD gets ready to close its doors in Rathdrum

By: William O’Toole

After 55 years in the operation, MSD Pharmaceuticals will close the doors on its Rathdrum plant for the final time in November as the majority of the remaining staff finish up today.

The plant was initially opened by German man Herbert Bendixin, who was the co-founder and majority shareholder of Loftus Byran Chemicals.

An advertisement in a local shop window led Mr Bendicxin to Rathdrum and in 1960 he purchased Copse House and its 55 acres of adjoining farmland.

The  first sale of a material made in the Rathdrum plant was made on April 1, 1961 to an American customer and that was to the start of what turned out to be a booming business.

The plant continued to grow from strength to strength and in January 1981 Schering-Plough, a major multi-national with particular interest in antihistamine drugs, bought a significant part of Mr Bendixin’s shares.

The plant would operate under the Schering-Plough banner until 2009 when they were acquired by MSD International.

In 2013, the town of Rathdrum was sent into shock when they announced that they would be ceasing operations in Rathdrum on a phased basis, with the loss of 270 jobs at the plant.

Efforts have been ongoing to find a buyer for the plant but so far this has not proved successful.




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