After reporting a 28% decrease in Q3 net income, pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. announced it will cut 7,200 jobs over the next 3 years. This amounts to 12% of its workforce and it comes on top of 10,400 job cuts the company has made during the last 3 years.
Merck said workforce reductions will coincide with the shuttering of research facilities in Seattle, Italy and Japan. Executive positions will be reduced by 25%. 40% of the reductions will involve US-based employees.
CEO Richard Clark indicated the moves were part of the company’s plans to reengineer its R & D, manufacturing and sales processes. “New business models have to be put in place for our industry to survive,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
Merck’s Q3 sales dropped 2% to $5.9 billion. The company attributed the fall to decreased revenue from three key drugs: Gardasil, a cervical cancer vaccine, Vytorin, a cholesterol-lowering drug whose effectiveness has been questioned, and Fosamax a bone mineralization drug that faces generic competition in the US. Merck also cited the economic downturn as a cause of its troubles. The Great Economic Crisis of 2008 has triggered a nearly unprecedented drop in US health care consumption.
Merck did report sales growth for its diabetes drugs, Januvia and Janumet. Sales of the former increased 250% to $379 million. Sales of the latter increased 500% to $101 million.