Local impacts uncertain for Merck job cuts

Oct. 02, 2013 @ 03:29 PM

New Jersey-based drug company Merck is cutting 20 percent of its global workforce.

However, it’s not yet clear how much impact that will have here in North Carolina.

The company announced it’s cutting an additional 8,500 workers on top of a previous reduction of 7,500 out of 81,000 total employees.

Company spokeswoman Cheznee Johnson said she could not offer details on what the local impact will be from the cuts, but did say that it is a “global exercise” that’s going on “across the board.”

“We like to say that we operate locally, but we have a global focus as well,” she said. “Every part of the (company), across the board, across the company, every site, division and function (is) undergoing transformation.”
Merck employs about 1,800 people in North Carolina, with about 1,100 of them employed at a vaccine packaging and manufacturing facility in Durham County’s Treyburn Corporate Park.

Merck is making layoffs to “sharpen its commercial and research and development focus,” the company announced on Tuesday.

It expects to see savings of about $2.5 billion by the end of 2015. The majority of the savings are expected to come from reduced marketing and administrative expenses and research and development.