Merck to trim staff by 11% and close or sell plants

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Merck today unveiled a major restructuring under which it plans to cut 7,000 jobs, or 11% of its global work force, and will close or sell five of its 31 manufacturing plants. Merck, which eliminated 825 jobs worldwide last month, said the latest job cuts will take place by the end of 2008, about half of them in the U.S.
 "We are engaged in an ongoing effort to enhance efficiencies throughout the company and improve the way we discover, develop, manufacture and market our medicines and vaccines," said Richard Clark, Merck CEO in a statement.
Merck's restructuring announcement comes as the company faces the loss of patent protection for its top-selling drug Zocor in 2006 and is up against thousands of liability lawsuits related to its recalled painkiller Vioxx.
The company also said it hopes the restructuring program will generate pre-tax savings of $3.5 billion to $4 billion from 2006 through 2010.
Clark said that Merck plans to further discuss its restructuring efforts at its annual analyst conference at its Whitehouse Station, N.J. headquarters on Dec. 15.                                                             A Merck spokesman told MM&M that all areas and regions of the company were being examined during the restructuring, part of an ongoing effort by Merck to better serve patients.

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