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MERCK U.S. HUMAN HEALTH PRESIDENT IS RICHARD LANE, 41

Executive Summary

MERCK U.S. HUMAN HEALTH PRESIDENT IS RICHARD LANE, 41, who is taking over the head of the domestic drug business in a job switch with David Anstice. Lane is moving to head the U.S. business from a similar position atop the European human health operations for the past 20 months. Lane's new title will be corporate senior VP and president of Merck Human Health Division-U.S. Anstice has been heading the U.S. drug business since the April 1991 management realignment. A veteran of the Merck, Sharpe & Dohme international business, Anstice is moving back overseas to take charge of European operations. Both Lane and Anstice will report to Jerry Jackson, the new exec VP in charge of the Merck Human Health Division worldwide. That is essentially the same job that Richard Markham held prior to his elevation to be Merck's chief operating officer (see preceding T&G). Jackson has been the senior corporate exec in charge of the vaccine business and joint ventures prior to the new appointment. Gordon Douglas, president of the Merck Vaccine Division, will now report directly to Markham. Douglas has been made a corporate VP and also will be responsible for Calgon Vestal Labs and the Astra/Merck Group, which is nearing the point of becoming a new, separate entity in 1994 ("The Pink Sheet," Nov. 16, T&G-4). Lane and Anstice are part of a cadre of young corporate officers at Merck, the result of the thorough shakeup under the tenure of Chairman Roy Vagelos, MD. Two other senior officers in their early forties were given title advancements to corporate senior VPs in the recent changes: Judy Lewent (chief financial officer) and Mary McDonald (general counsel). Lewent and McDonald will report to Vagelos. While Vagelos kept all parts of the business and senior execs reporting directly to him, there was a great deal of mobility and opportunity for advancement at Merck -- especially for the younger execs. It is possible that the appointment of Markham could change that perspective. Lane, who headed U.K. operations under Markham and reported to Markham during the last 20 months, will inherit several tricky situations for the U.S. business. Merck is understood to be in the process of submitting discount prices to the Veterans Affairs Department under the rebates mandated by legislation enacted during the last Congress. Similarly, the company is trying to hold out against pressure from the Medi-Cal program for a doubling of rebates to that state program. Merck initiated the "best price" rebate idea in 1990 as a way to assure access for its new products and to take advantage of its relatively narrow price ranges. That approach is becoming thornier for Merck as different classes of purchasers -- especially public purchasers -- are seeking larger rebates from the company. In an internal Merck magazine article, Lane is quoted as saying: "We believe governments should encourage the use of genetics and greater competition for off-patent, multi-source products." Lane has gone on the record in favor of giving governments some control over drug expenditures, at least in Europe.

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