Anyone who follows the pharma business knows that industry giants have made giant cuts to their workforces over the past several years. Just how many jobs have been cut? About 143,500 among the world’s top 11 drugmakers, FirstWord Pharma reports, citing Bloomberg data. That’s roughly equivalent to the population of Savannah, GA, or Paterson, NJ.
The reasons for those cuts are clear: Generic competition for once-megablockbuster drugs like Pfizer’s ($PFE) Lipitor and Sanofi ($SNY) and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s ($BMY) Plavix. Declining productivity in Big Pharma R&D. The shift to specialty drugs that can be promoted without a small army of sales reps. And a series of mergers that spawned “synergies” waiting to be tapped.
But the job cuts haven’t spread equally across the industry, as FirstWord reports. In fact, one company stands much higher than the rest, and it’s the company that last week added another 8,500 jobs to its tally: Merck ($MRK), which has eliminated 46,140 jobs since 2008.