Last year, Merck disclosed plans to save up to $3.5 billion by closing numerous research sites and manufacturing plants and eliminate roughly 15,000 jobs by 2012, or roughly 10% of the total headcount including the thousands of employees who were part of the 2009 acquisition of Schering-Plough. Before that deal, Merck employed about 53,000 people, reported Pharmalot.
By March, Merck had managed to get headcount down to 93,000, which means another 8,000 or so jobs must still go. Sources say the layoff process is expected to accelerate in early August, as the drug maker continues its restructuring plan and looks for additional ways to save money.
That more pink slips will be handed out is hardly surprising, given that Merck telegraphed the cuts a year ago. Numerous departments have been winnowed in recent months, particularly the Merck Research Laboratories, which once led the industry in new discoveries but now struggles to replenish the pipeline.
Merck execs are interested in bringing the headcount down further, sources say, and are continuing to review more operations, including reducing the scale of the research facility that opened in Boston seven years ago. A Merck spokesman, however, declined to comment on any upcoming moves.