Huge job cuts at Merck

Merck & Co. announced it would reduce it’s workforce by 15 percent or about 16,000 people and close eight research laboratories and eight manufacturing plant around in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere.

The giant drug maker based in Whitehouse Station, N.J. has major operations across the Philadelphia region, but its announcement did not detail any cuts in this area. Merck said that the job cuts and facilities closures were part of a global restructuring that started last in December after its $41 billion acquisition of Schering-Plough Corp.

“Today’s announcement is another important step as we successfully integrate our global operations on schedule and move forward with Merck's strategic priorities,” said Richard T. Clark, chairman and chief executive officer of Merck. “These changes are crucial to drive future growth and realize the promise of being a global health care leader for the long term.”

Merck is the second largest pharmaceutical company with about $45 billion a year in revenues.  The company said the cuts in addition to earlier moves that included shedding 11,000 workers would result in about $3.1 billion a year in cost cutting by 2012, still $400 million shy of its stated goal of $3.5 billion.

More details on the Merck announcement are available here.

This morning Check Up guest blogger Daniel Hoffman posted an item about the various strategies big pharma is undertaking during tough times as major brand-name drugs come off patent with little in product pipelines to replace that lost revenue. Read Hoffman’s latest post here.

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