It appears that Merck & Company will be following other pharmaceutical companies such as Eli Lilly (3,500 layoffs) and Teva (7,000layoffs) in reorganizing and realigning their core functionality and personnel. Merck will reduce their labor force by approximately 1,800 workers, primarily in sales and who serve as drug detail representatives to primary-care doctors, endocrinologists and hospitals.
Gone are the days of exclusive-to-physician marketing and the past practice of attempting to influence individual prescribers with samples and brand reminders such as golf-balls and other tchotchkes. Or allowing the high-prescribers to fulfill their CEU (Continuing Education Credits) at high-end resorts. Not to mention paying “honoraria” for sponsored speaking events. Now, with the advent of the internet and interactive media, we can see more targeted marketing of so-called associative ads. Drugs are marketed directly to consumers with the benefit of the constant repetition of the horrendous potential side-effects dulling the perception of prescription dangers. It is not uncommon for patients to research their conditions and symptoms on the internet and request (or demand) certain therapies or branded drugs from their attending physicians.