Global Processing

Merck to eliminate 7,000 jobs, 5 plants

November 29, 2005
Faced with thousands of Vioxx lawsuits, the loss of patent protection for a key product and a weak array of drugs in development, Merck & Co. is axing more than 10 percent of its work force and eliminating five production plants, the Associated Press reports. Merck will immediately start cutting an estimated 7,000 jobs, about half of those in the United States. The company''s manufacturing sector will take the biggest percentage of cuts -- about 60 percent -- while the rest will be spread around the company. Supply chain and research operations also will be restructured as the company attempts to reduce pretax costs by $3.5 billion to $4 billion by the end of 2010. By the end of 2008, Whitehouse Station-based Merck plans to close or sell five of its 31 manufacturing plants, scale down operations at some others and close three other facilities -- one research site and two preclinical development sites. The company did not specify which plants would be closed.