Merck to Cut Thousands of Jobs

Drug company Merck is cutting thousands of job cuts and closing several factories. Reeling from the recall of the painkiller Vioxx, Merck says it will cut 7,000 jobs or eleven percent of its work force by the end of 2008. Half of the targeted jobs are in the US. The goal is to save up to $4 billion over the next four years, partly by outsourcing some manufacturing.

The New Jersey-based company will lose patent protection for its top-selling cholesterol drug Zocor next year and is facing thousands of liability lawsuits arising from the Vioxx recall.

Under the global restructuring, Merck plans to close or sell five of its 31 manufacturing facilities. Merck did not identify the five manufacturing plants to be closed or sold. It also plans to reduce operations at a number of other sites and will close one basic research site and two preclinical development sites. Those sites were also not identified.

Merck employs nearly 900 employees at its plant in Elkton.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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