PharmExec Blog

Cold Cuts: Merck Layoffs Loom

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It is not just cold outside these days, as Merck & Co. makes some cold hard decisions. Following on the heels of its now closed acquisition of Schering-Plough, Merck is making significant job cuts across its operations. Some 16,000 jobs are expected to be eliminated in total as a result of the merger.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Merck CEO Dick Clark wants to “eliminate some of the duplication,” especially with respect to the sales force. Many of those cuts were made today, according to various reports. The size and scale of those cuts, however, remain unclear, with no official word from the company.

Yesterday at a Goldman Sachs investor meeting, Clark gave some indication of how the company sees the merger. “We have taken the best from both companies, from a process standpoint and a people standpoint.” Clark stated. “Well over 30 percent of the Schering-Plough executive team has been retained at Merck.”

Still, cuts will remain the main focus as the company completes its integration. Clark pointed out that the company expected to reduce the number of its manufacturing facilities, which ballooned to 96 plants following the merger and research is also expected to see cuts. Those cuts will take longer to implement however.

Merck did announce its intention to pare down some of its staff at the former Schering-Plough headquarters in Kenniworth, NJ. In a filing with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development Merck stated it planned to cut 500 positions. No similar announcement was made for the Merck headquarters in Whitehouse Station, NJ. On the same website, Pfizer announced its plan to cut 400 positions at its Wyeth-based Monmouth facility.

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