Merck to Eliminate 13,000 Jobs

Merck & Company says it plans to lay of 13,000 people worldwide in order to reduce its costs over the next four years. The <"">pharmaceutical company, which markets medications like Singulair, Lipitor, Januvia and Gardasil, faces the losses of patent protection for some of its best selling products starting next year.

It is estimated that as many as 40 percent of the job cuts could come from Merck’s operations in the U.S. The job-cutting will begin immediately and continue through 2015.

“Merck is taking these difficult actions so that we can grow profitably,” CEO Kenneth Frazier said in a statement. “The environment we operate in is changing rapidly and dramatically, and these steps will help us more efficiently serve customers and patients around the world.”

According to the New Jersey Star-Ledger, this is at least the third restructuring Merck has undertaken since 2005, when it set out to cut $5 billion in costs by eliminating 10,400 jobs. Merck has also reduced its workforce by an estimated 30,000 since it announced its merger with Schering-Plough in 2009.

A Merck spokesperson told the New Jersey Star-Ledger that most of the reductions will come from “non-revenue producing positions.” The cuts will come from administration, as well as regional and global headquarters. The company will also consolidate some offices and close manufacturing facilities. Sales staff may be spared, according to a report from Hire Wire.

The cuts are just more bad news for the already-struggling economy, especially for the state of New Jersey, where Merck employs about 12,000.

“Those high-paying jobs are never going to be seen again,’’ Steve Brozak, a pharmaceutical industry analyst with Clark-based WBB Securities, told the Star-Ledger. While man employees will retire or change careers, many are never going to be “as gainfully employed again,’’ he said.

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