Merck job cuts set to accelerate

Merck's ($MRK) long-planned job cuts are set to accelerate. The company announced its intent to shed some 15,000 jobs by 2012 last year, but thousands of those jobs have yet to go. Sources tell Pharmalot that Merck plans to amp up its layoff process soon, probably early next month.

Merck announced the cuts in the wake of its 2009 merger with Schering-Plough. The idea was to save some $3.5 billion by slashing the payroll by 10% and shuttering facilities. Such an enormous restructuring plan takes time, of course, and as of March, Merck still had about 8,000 jobs remaining to be cut, Pharmalot figures.

Now, the layoffs will speed up, the blog's sources said. And they may not end with the announced 15,000. Company insiders tell Pharmalot that officials may want to cut the workforce even more than they had planned. Merck execs are combing operations for more ways to save money, they say. Merck itself declined comment.

Merck's layoffs, while quite substantial, are still fewer than Pfizer's announced job cuts in association with its Wyeth merger. Other Big Pharma firms have cut back by the thousands as well.

- read the Pharmalot post