Merck to lay off 500 workers around the U.S.

Merck, like many of its Big Pharma peers, is working to focus more on innovative drugs. But as part of that ongoing shift, the company is eliminating 500 positions nationwide.

The company is cutting jobs in “select sales and headquarters commercial teams” effective Jan. 3, spokeswoman Pamela Eisele told FiercePharma. Affected employees can apply for positions elsewhere in the company, Eisele said, and those who are ultimately let go will be offered a “comprehensive separation package.”

Even as it’s cutting some jobs, Merck is “adding new U.S. jobs in growth areas, such as oncology, based on changes in our portfolio,” Eisele said. The move is “part of ongoing company-wide efforts to sharpen Merck’s focus on innovative research and development that addresses significant unmet medical needs and on our best opportunities for growth.”

The drugmaker Thursday filed a WARN notice in Pennsylvania, where the jobs are based for administrative purposes. Merck, whose global base is in New Jersey, has its U.S. headquarters in Upper Gwynedd, Pennsylvania.

Source: FiercePharma