Merck Cuts 7,000 Jobs To Help Boost Anti-Depressant Sales

With shares and profits plummeting, Merck has announced that it will cut 7,000 jobs in an attempt to boost waffling anti-depressant sales. Executives of the pharmaceutical company said that with antidepressant sales lagging, especially after losing $2 billion in the Vioxx recall, a large-scale layoff would help populate the fledgling market of depressed people.

"With most of the country already on Prozac or Zoloft, it's time to introduce some fresh, undrugged and recently depressed people into the market," said Richard Clark, company chief executive offices. "Our employees are well aware of Merck products like Tryptanol and other great remedies to those inevitable rainy days, and we hope that they'll use them as faithfully as they served their posts until we laid them off."

Clark says that Merck employees are exceptionally faithful, and he does not expect them to cease buying Merck’s effective products, even as Merck prepares to cease paying them.

"This will ultimately be a good thing for everyone involved, and we would like to remind all employees, past and present, that employee discounts on all Merck products are good up to 30 days after getting canned, which is sure to be a very – ahem – depressing time," said Clark in a separate statement.

Analysts expect that anti-depressant sales will increase over the next two years as Merck plots to reduce its workforce by 11 percent by 2008. Other companies like Nissin Foods (which produces Top Ramen Noodles), Faygo Soda, the Goodwill, and Aldi Supermarkets are also anticipating an increase in business as 7,000 Merck employees face joblessness and necessary budget cutbacks.

"Now is time for ramen," beamed a smiling noodle robot serving as a spokesman for Nissin Foods. "You eat pills, eat ramen, be happy!"

Indeed, as the robot instructed, many of the employees who lost their jobs appeared buoyant and upbeat about their situation.

"You can't let a good firing keep you down, that's what I always say!" chirped Ben Jonston, who was let go from a New Jersey plant, busily cutting out pictures of food that he might someday like to eat. "The early moss captures a bird!"

"I'm going to try and see how long I can maintain my normal, pre-firing lifestyle," said ex-employee Rita Creal, charging a new laptop computer to her credit card. "It's important that I help the economy as well as my company's image. Oops -- former company!"

As well as it appears to be working, it is interesting to note that this anti-depressant sale increase tactic was Merck's back-up plan; the firm initially hoped that the announcement of the firings would trigger heart attacks in patients who had previously taken the heart attack-enhancing Merck drug Vioxx, causing massive fatalities and encouraging friends and family to take up anti-depressants in their hour of need.

"Unfortunately, Vioxx was pulled from the market too soon to allow that particular scenario to come to fruition," said one market analyst. "It's too bad, because Merck could've recouped some stock when dangerous criminals and psychopaths realized that Vioxx can be a very useful drug in the right circumstances."

Merck plans to terminate almost all of the rest of its jobs by 2008, say company officials, when the company will be run by "two guys who think of pills" that are assembled by teams in Uzbekistan.

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