Friday, December 23, 2011

Merck Is 2011's "Job-Cuttingest" Pharma Company: 13,000 In 2011 Alone

And that follows some 25,000 to 30,000, over the last three years (between the now-combined companies).

So -- it is probably appropriate that this run as a latter-day Bob Cratchit story (for those that remain, at least), and right before the Ghost of Christmas to Come appears (for those that have departed).

Most of the layoffs announced in May 2011 actually occured in October of this year. Still, it makes for a tough holiday for those 13,000. Our thoughts are with them -- as we've "once been there"; all we can say is that "it will get better." In time. So try to be of good cheer -- being down about it won't change it. That much is certain.

This, is a bit from the FiercePharma story, this morning -- do go read it all:

. . . .Perhaps the most persistent trend in the drug business is one management would prefer to discuss only with analysts, and certainly not with the rank-and-file. Once again, a laundry list of pharma companies are laying off workers by the thousands. Companies. . . [including] Merck, which in May announced plans to cut up to 13,000 jobs.

Before Merck revealed its latest cost-cutting plans, it looked as if 2011 might be a relatively blood-free year. And it's true the numbers don't approach the layoffs announced in 2009, when Pfizer merged with Wyeth and Merck with Schering-Plough -- and both mega-mergers resulted in mega-job cuts. . . .

But saying it isn't as bad as 2009, is really cold comfort. And for that, I am truly sorry -- but it does need to be marked. Merck was the layoff champion in pharma, in 2011. In many ways, though, all current CEO Frazier was doing was cleaning up the mess Ex-Schering-Plough CEO Fred Hassan left him, as a coal-bin to ashes legacy. Unfortunate. So Hassan's Fortune "accolade", from last year, runs here -- at right.


Anonymous said...

I'd bet that Merck will reign supreme again in 2012! There is only top line cost cutting, no bottom line revenue growth to be reported. It's hard to say if this would have been the case for either company had they not merged but the merger has done very little to stop the free fall each seemed to be headed for.

To those who lost their jobs (I volunteered) don't look back. Move forward, be positive and you will get a new job - I did! Use the experience you gained in the good times to demonstrate the innovation you're capable of and the follies of recent to demonstrate how to spot a poor idea. All experience is good experience if you know how to use it.

condor said...

Indeed -- I do think Pfizer's cupboard is barer than Merck's -- but both are going to have to do more cost-cutting, next year. Alternatively, they may each try to do at least one more "deal of size," to fill in the pipe(s). Both are very close to the limits, though -- on what the anti-trust laws will permit, in their core markets.

Now, related to my main point above, do read this story Derek Lowe, over at "In the Pipeline" has, on an ex-Schering-Plough employee confronting Fred Hassan (in a Zen-like way!), on a jet, while he was sitting in First Class, headed to Florida.