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Friday, January 07, 2011

Merck Logic

Merck has a plan. The new Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Frazier said the company will make “tough” research spending decisions while developing innovative products.

Merck hosts regular symposia where its finance experts teach scientists how to seek better return on invested capital, Frazier said. The three-year return is now tied to researchers’ compensation, he said.

Finance experts? Teaching scientists? We at the CCS are of the belief that no one who works in finance holds half the expertise in their field as the average mechanic holds in theirs. We clearly do not believe that a scientist can be taught anything. Their arrogance prohibits them from being on the learning side of the any educational scenario.

I guess we all want to be the expert/teacher. Those running Cargo Cult Airports teach their underlings how to run the Cult. The underlings (middle management) hire the people who run the airport. Upper management then lives and dies on the Cargo. How far gone must Merck be to have finance employees telling scientists how to get the most out of their R&D budgets?

Why is this story not scorned by the entire world, let alone some lone voice that can be heard? My voice is not heard. No one is going to say, "the CCS makes a valid point, Merck has tied finance to science and that just doesn't make any sense". But if you are like me, you get in your time machine and you go back and listen to all of the intelligent talk about how Merck and Pfizer and all the rest were going to turn things around and start getting drugs approved. Then you come back to the present and you see how they did.

I leave you now to hop into that time machine. I will travel three years down the road to see the how this plan worked out.

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