Drug Mergers: Killers for Research

When big pharmaceutical companies merge, like Merck and Schering-Plough or Pfizer and Wyeth, R&D always seems to suffer

Merck's decision to acquire Schering-Plough (SGP) for $41 billion will improve its bottom line over the next two to three years, as the merged company cuts at least 16,000 staffers and streamlines its operating costs. Further out, however, Merck (MRK) may find itself in the same wobbly boat it's in now: No big drugs to replace the best sellers that are on the verge of losing patent protection.

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