Merck and Schering-Plough will be joining forces in a $41.1 billion cash-and-stock deal, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Journal adds that pharma companies are suffering from a host of problems, "from product pipelines that likely won't be able to offset companies' blockbusters that will lose patent protection in the coming years to the potential of increased government pressure to lower prices." The new company will keep the Merck name and will see a workforce reduction of 15 percent.
In other news, Roche has upped its offer for Genentech, now offering $93 a share for the biotech -- more than the previous $86.50 but less than the $112 the Genentech board set as its price. "If you look at our offer, it shows the value we put on the ability of Genentech to create new products and to innovate in general," Franz Humer, Roche's chairman, says.