RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
NPR's business news starts with layoffs and more layoffs.
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MONTAGNE: One of the country's biggest pharmaceutical makers, Merck, today said it's slashing more than 7,000 positions, or 12 percent, of its global workforce. The cuts were announced as the company reported a sharp drop in income for the recent quarter. It's partly due to fewer sales of Merck's cholesterol pills, Vytorin and Zetia. Merck also faces competition from generic drug makers as patents on top-selling medications expire. Rival drug company Pfizer faces the same problem. The maker of top-selling cholesterol drug Lipitor has already cut more than 14,000 jobs since last year, and workers there are bracing for more.
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