By Arun Sudhaman
LONDON: Pharmaceutical giant Merck is reviewing its comms activities across Europe, as the company assesses its PR spending plans after its blockbuster $41 billion merger with Schering Plough last year.
It is understood that the company spends upwards of £20 million on all comms in Europe alone, working with more than 100 agencies and suppliers.
Sources involved in the process told the Holmes Report that the review, which has been underway for some time, would inevitably result in the company working with fewer agencies.
In the UK alone, for example, Merck Schering Plough works with several agencies, including Cohn & Wolfe, Virgo Health, Ketchum, Athena and Reynolds-MacKenzie. While some agencies are aware of the review, it is still believed to be at an initial audit stage.
It is understood that the comms team at Merck Schering Plough is first assessing how it should work with agencies before making any decisions on the scale of consolidation.
Merck and Schering Plough merged last year in a $41 billion deal, part of a wave of consolidation that is sweeping through the healthcare industry. The newly merged entity this week announced a major global restructuring programme.
Merck Europe director of media relations Monique Mols told the Holmes Report that, because of the ongoing integration of the two companies, “it is not appropriate for us to discuss future relationships with PR agencies”.