Merck's obesity intervention

Merck has externalized its slimming imperative. The company, which announced in October that it was offloading 8,500 employees, announced Dec. 20 that it created a weight-focused subsidiary named HRM Weight Management Services Corp. The weight-loss unit will offer what it describes as “weight management interventions” through tools that include diet, behavior coaching and physical activity.

The new unit is a combination of Merck and The Health Management Resources Corporation, the latter of which will be independent of Merck, even though the new corporation will be a Merck subsidiary.

Fallout from the October layoff announcement has started to surface: reported Monday that 152 sales reps are now former employees, having lost their Montgomery County jobs when Merck sold its drug Saphris to Forest.

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