Merck, Schering reps face 500-plus job cuts

It's going to be a grim first quarter for sales reps at the new Merck. The company is planning to cut more than 500 sales jobs, as disclosed to the state of New Jersey. The layoffs started before the ball dropped on 2009 and will continue through the end of March.

Merck spokeswoman Amy Rose tells the Star-Ledger that the cuts will hit sales reps across the country. Plus, the axe will fall on both sides of the merger, the old Merck and the old Schering-Plough, the Wall Street Journal Health Blog reports.

Of course, layoffs at Merck are not unexpected; the company announced that thousands of jobs would be lost in its merger with Schering--some 16,500 jobs, in fact. But that doesn't make it any easier for the people who will be getting pink slips over the next few months. Nor does it make it easier for the bosses who have to make those tough choices. No doubt the job cuts will move beyond sales shortly, as CEO Dick Clark (photo) has hinted.

- read the Star-Ledger piece
- see the post at the Health Blog