Merck to eliminate 500 jobs nationwide, including Pa.

Merck's West Point research and manufacturing plant in Montgomery County. (John George/Philadelphia Business Journal)

Merck's West Point research and manufacturing plant in Montgomery County. (John George/Philadelphia Business Journal)

This article originally appeared on Philadelphia Business Journal.

Merck & Co. Inc. is eliminating 500 jobs in multiple states including Pennsylvania.

The job cuts are effective Jan. 3., 2020, and include remote workers residing outside of the state, according to a filing with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

Pamela Eisele, a spokeswoman for the pharmaceutical giant, said the filing relates to “several changes” in the company’s U.S. commercial organization tied to its research and development focus going forward.

“Approximately 500 people will be affected in select sales and headquarters commercial teams,” Eisele said. “The roles being eliminated are located across all states; but for administrative purposes, the jobs are associated with Merck’s U.S. (operations) in Upper Gwynedd.”

The company could not immediately provide a break down of job cuts by the state.

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification filing with the state says the jobs being eliminated affect certain field-based and office-based sales personnel within the company’s human health division, along with a “small number” of marketing employees and a “small number” of non-sales or marketing employees who work at Merck offices in Upper Gwynedd and Lansdale.

Merck (NYSE: MRK) is based in Kenilworth, New Jersey, and has 69,000 employees worldwide. The company maintains a large presence in Pennsylvania, where it has more than 12,000 employees, including 4,000 in research and another 4,000 in manufacturing. The bulk of those employees work at Merck’s sprawling research and manufacturing plant in the West Point section of Upper Gwynedd Township.

Eisele said employees whose jobs are being eliminated can apply to other open positions at Merck. Impacted employees who are not placed in a new role will be offered a comprehensive separation package, she said.

“At the same time we are eliminating certain U.S. jobs, we are also adding new U.S. jobs in growth areas, such as oncology, based on changes in our portfolio,” Eisele said. “This is not a new restructuring effort; these changes are 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 company’s top-selling drug last year, the cancer immunotherapy medicine Keytruda, generated sales of $7.2 billion for the company in 2018.

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