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Merck cuts 20% of its employees, what are the reasons?


Senior Member
Merck cuts 20% of its employees. Less and less drugs get approved every year. The cost for developing drugs however increases. A few decades ago many CEOs of big pharma companies were scientists. Today, most of them are lawyers, accountants or marketing experts. Drug development has lost its way, at least it seems so. Here is a perfect comment I found on this blog about drug discovery.


34. NoDrugsNoJobs on October 1, 2013 2:47 PM writes...
To focus simply on the CEO is a bit of a red herring. Merck's CEO did not create the regulatory, legal and pricing environment we find ourselves in. It's getting harder and harder to find drugs that can advance the standard of care in many areas as that standard of care has risen.
The regulatory environment today is many times more perilous than past generations and that is why you might have observed so many of your former co-workers are now in regulatory or have gone into legal or elsewheres, thats where the jobs are at. These days a pharma business must be able to convince payors that the drug will merit the use and this is not easy to do - it requires ever increasing clinical study sizes and much riskier and harder to meet criteria. The fda has not grown softer, they have rejected many drugs that would have been a shoo in a couple or three decades ago.
Pharma companies of all stripes must comply with millions and millions of pages of increasingly byzantine regulations related to all aspects of their business, compliance costs are through the roof. Fines assessed against the major pharma companies routinely now run into the billions with no relief in sight. All of these things make our drugs more and more expensive without making them much better I surmise.
Its a different world. One may wax sentimental for the good old days when scientists ran things but the reality is, a lawyer is probably as or more appropriate at the helm as a scientist due to all of the non-drug discovery related factors that are crushing the business model. I don't like it all but as good as it might feel to blame this CEO or that CEO, the reality of our situation is so much more daunting and complex. Nothing short of a dramatic reorganization of the entire drug approval and regulation process will save us from further carnage.