Wednesday, January 6, 2010

CEO Clark: LIVE, This Morning -- On The Severance of At Least 16,000 People

New Merck CEO Dick Clark spoke at a Goldman Sachs "CEO Unscripted" event this morning -- if you'd like to, you may sign-in, and listen to his remarks.

Or, if you don't feel like getting email from Goldman Sachs, soliciting investment/trading business -- you can jump to the direct stream, as I've lifted it, to save you the trouble of registering.

That "stripped" webcast link is here -- but Jacob Goldstein, for the Wall Street Journal's Health Blog has pulled the best quotes:

. . . .Speaking at an event hosted by Goldman Sachs, Clark said Merck will “obviously eliminate some of the duplication” in the company’s sales force as part of the integration with Schering. He also suggested that the company will look at outsourcing some of its sales work, in order to be more flexible for product launches. [Condor/Editor Note: this appears at 16 minutes, 45 seconds into the webcast.]

Clark also brought up manufacturing [Condor's Note: @ 20:12 in the webcast]. Over the past several years, Merck went from 40 plants down to 25 plants — but after the merger, Merck now has 96 manufacturing plants, Clark said. "I think there’s an opportunity there, just off the top of my head," he said.

And a little more: “There’s still a lot of duplication, not only in sales force, but in marketing organizations and corporate organizations, and issues like that,” he said. He also mentioned that "the number of research sites you need” is “something that has to be looked at. . . ."

Dick Clark also said that perhaps half of the merger synergies should be seen during 2010 (@ about 21:40 into the webcast). That's very aggressive.

In any event, tomorrow morning, a vast number of the US salespeople will be "outsourced" to use CEO Clark's euphemism. In plain English, they will be out of work, with families to feed.


Anonymous said...


It's bloody this morning. Just displaced. Whole districts eliminated.

--same rep who sent the Q about WARN notification....

condor said...

My condolences -- truly.

I will keep you all in my morning meditations. . . .

Thanks for your valuable insights.


Anonymous said...

This is a sad day for sales people at Merck - many good people, I'm certain will lose their jobs. God provides for those in need so keep your chin up everyone ... good things will come your way.

Anonymous said...

Scenario: Jake thinks the advisory board is rigged so sends a note to each of the members - via certified mail to make certain they received it - stating if "newer" medication is extended for other individuals, the advisory board would be advocating taking away 14th amendment rights of those individuals knowing what they already do with VAERS stats already reported. Lots of stats and other info. is sent along with this note. Advisory board decides to "leave it in the air" as to whether or not they advise the FDA for/against this extension and don't really seem to take a vote. (Jake does not know outcome of actual vote because he did not follow it and it was difficult to find the info on extension vote of this drug on the FDA website.)

"IF" this is how something went down, could it bring question as to the validity of the advisory board seeing as no one recommended or didn't recommend the extension of the drug?

Any thoughts?

Condor said...

Great question -- prepare for a longish, two part answer, now. . .

This is a complicated hypothetical, Anon.

First -- I don't think the 14th amendment is the right claim-set to point to. There may be others (if Medicare/Medicaid reimbursed for off-label uses), but not under the 14th amendment jurisprudence as it is now understood.

No "state actor" is depriving anyone of life, or liberty -- the approval of a drug is still subject to the additional step of a private actor (the doctor) writing a 'scrip for the drug. "But for. . ." cause is not enough, here.

That is, just because the doc (at least arguably) couldn't write the 'scrip without the FDA extended approval, doesn't make the writing of the scrip a "state action, under color of law, in violation of fundamental federal rights".

Moreover, it is generally true that it is perfectly lawful for doctors to write 'scrips for off-label uses. The doctors are absolutely liable for the outcome, and almost no government reimbursement exists for off-label writing. Most insureres take a dim view of paying for it, too.

But that doesn't make the practice unlawful. Private-cash-paying patients may buy off-label, if the doc will prescribe it.

In short, I think any 14th amendment calim is. . . DOA. [Sorry.]

Tomorrow, I'll answer more generally about Advisory Committee liberties, duties and mechanics. I assume yours means to refer to an FDA advisory committee, above.

Namaste -- do stop back!

Anonymous said...

ok ... so rather than a drug ... let's say it's a vaccine - and the VAERS system has confirmed some rather questionable side effects more like 14th ammendment things ...

I can't wait to see what you have to say. Thanks so much!

Condor said...

Okay -- now THAT is an interesting question:

If, in the hypothetical, the vaccine was MANDATED, by force of applicable law (as Merck's Gardasil was, for example, for a time -- in Texas, Florida and a few other states -- on pain of deportation, for all women who had reached puberty and who entered the US seeking permanent residence) -- the 14th amendment could arguably be implcated.

Two additional facts would also have to obtain: (1) a "state actor" would have to mandate the vaccine (upon some specific penalty, or diminution of liberty interests, for non-compliance), and (2) that same state actor would have to say it would more likely than not have changed the terms of its mandate -- had the complained-of facts been disclosed in a timely and fully candid fashion.

Again, though -- to be clear -- I think Jake would have to be able to show that there was demonstrable, proven and affirmative harm done by giving the vaccine to the extended population/demographic.

A tall order, but not insurmountable.


Anonymous said...

ok ... so one more question ... when was the vaccine NOT mandated (let's assume Gardasil) ... or when did it come OFF the list of mandates? And what if Jake was not in one of the mandated states or not affected by the mandates ever ... could Jake help others by what he had done ... assuming of course that the advisory board never really took a vote?

Anonymous said...

Hypothetically, what could one do with this information and how would one find out about the vote (I believe it was in November)?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your help ... I do not trust the FDA ... too many hands in too many pockets as far as I can tell. Maybe some of them have a conscience ... maybe they all did at one point in time but as far as I see it today ... the hypocratic oath is more like the hypocrit oath. Too many people are getting hurt by what they are approving. And unless people like Jake take a risk to do something about it (a hypothetical situation of course) nothing will change. Wish I knew then what I know now. But appreciate all your postings. Have a great weekend!

Condor said...

One last observation, here -- above, someone wrote:

". . .And what if Jake was not in one of the mandated states or not affected by the mandates ever ... could Jake help others by what he had done. . . ."

Now we are down to Qui-Tam and False Claims Act questions. . . and ordinarily, Jake would have to be an "injured party" in order to have standing to sue. OTOH, nothing would prevent Jake from telling an allegedly "injured party" (someone vaccinated) what he had done, and what he knew.

In some cases, being a taxpayer (if the federal government paid for the vaccines, at least in part) might be enough, but ordinarily, Jake would have to be a vaccinated person to have damages.

Great discussion!

Thanks -- Namaste

Anonymous said...

Namaste - your comments are quite valuable and you obviously have a complete comprehension of how things work at the FDA, et all. I look forward to continued conversations.

7009 0080 0002 4452 8441 - (one of several)

Anonymous said...

Namaste - since you obviously are well versed in this sort of thing ... If there is some way you could make a recommendation of legal assistance (one who has the finest heart and killer resume), I'm certain there would be families much obliged. It's hard to tell white from black these days.

condor said...

Actually -- I do this sort of work occasionally.

If you are interested, leave word here.

I'll explain the ways in which we might connect safely -- and securely.


Anonymous said...

would love the info. I could use some help navigating how to get all of this done ... and get help to the GG's. Hoping Friday will be a monumental day ... let me know how we can chat. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

think I know where to find you ... expect a call

Anonymous said...

nope ... wrong one ... hope you will find me at some point.

Condor said...

Here is the best way:

Contact Ed Silverman at Pharmalot.

He knows just how to reach me.

Be sure to verify (for him) that you are an ex-employee -- he'll know what to do.


Condor said...

Do understand, though -- no attorney-client relationship will (or can) exist, until I send you an e-mail informing you that I am engaged on your behalf (at a minimum, I need to confirm that talking to you won't conflict with my existing representation -- of other clients).

All of this is just to be safe -- as I do not solicit clients, in any way on this blog; but I will help with some free advice, if asked. . . . we need to make sure it is private, though -- right?


Anonymous said...

I sent the info. and understand how it should probably work. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if salmon can comment on the vote regarding the extension of Gardasil/Cervarix in November ... If you are around salmon, would love to hear you remarks.

Anonymous said...

would love to hear what you think about this link ... all I can say is Holy Crap!

Anonymous said...

it takes me a while ... thanks.

Anonymous said...

Is this the norm when new drugs/vaccines are presented to the CDC for further approval? Please see the link below

I would be curious to know how often this type of 'vote' happens. Is it commonplace for the committee to vote unanimously for "permissive use?"