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Merck to contract out some sales jobs -- after cuts

September 24, 2008
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The Associated Press reports that Merck & Co. is about to contract out some of its sales work to deal with short-term vacancies in the U.S. sales force, just months after it eliminated about 15 percent of that staff. The drugmaker has retained InVentiv Health to handle sales needs in particular territories or for particular products rather than recruiting, hiring and retaining new full-time employees. The company provides sales, communications, market analysis, clinical trial management and other support to all top 20 global pharmaceutical manufacturers and dozens of other drugmakers and biotech companies. Merck eliminated about 1,200 salespeople early this summer as revenue was hurt by questions about the effectiveness and price of Vytorin and Zetia, cholesterol drugs it jointly sells with partner Schering-Plough. In addition, an experimental cholesterol treatment they were hoping to launch was rejected by the Food and Drug Administration. InVentiv is based in Somerset, N.J., not far from Merck''s headquarters in Whitehouse Station, N.J.

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