Merck - Top 10 pharma layoffs of 2011

Company: Merck ($MRK)
Based: Whitehouse Station, NJ
Jobs cuts announced: 12,000 to 13,000
Date revealed: July 29
Themes: Reducing costs, patent cliff

The scoop: Merck's big plan to shed $1.5 billion in costs in 2011 came at the expense of thousands of jobs. While trying to preserve research and development in the name of supporting future business prospects, the drug giant focused many of its cuts in administrative operations and scaling down manufacturing via the sale or closure of plants. Yet about 50 jobs were cut at the company's RNA research lab in South San Francisco, Xconomy reported.

By The Wall Street Journal's estimate, Merck's announcement in July that it would trim 12,000 to 13,000 more jobs coupled with previous cuts amounts to a total workforce reduction of 30% since the drugmaker's merger with Schering-Plough in 2009. That's a big chunk of its workforce, but major cuts were expected in order to make post-merger financials make sense. To add to the merger-related cuts, Merck has had to realign expenses in anticipation of generic competition to its multibillion-dollar allergy-and-asthma drug Singulair, which loses patent exclusivity in August.

Merck - Top 10 pharma layoffs of 2011
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