Pharmaceutical companies face tremendous challenges amid rising costs for research and development of new drugs and a declining number of new market-ready medications. The competition is further heightened by new market players and generic drug manufacturers. The latest reports give an idea of how turbulent the times are:

Organon, the second-largest maker of contraceptives, has been largely split up in recent years due to two takeovers by large U.S. corporations. Organon will lose its entire research sector along with half the 4,500 jobs at its headquarters in Oss in the Netherlands. The original owner, Akzo Nobel, first decided to focus on chemistry and sold Organon to Schering-Plough. Schering-Plough then merged with Merck & Co. in 2009. Merck & Co. is expected to shed some 15,000 jobs around the world.

U.S. Justice Department Looks at Big Pharma
The United States Department of Justice is investigating pharmaceutical companies as part of an anti-corruption initiative. Investigators are looking into entertainment expenses, licensing agreements, donations and consulting fees. So far, they have contacted Glaxo SmithKline, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Merck.

Sanofis-Aventis Eyes Genzyme
Despite last year’s scandal involving contaminated drugs, no less than three pharmaceutical companies are interested in buying Genzyme: Sanofis-Aventis, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. The reason: from the start, Genzyme focused on developing medications to treat rare, genetically determined diseases. The development is so cost-intensive that generic drugs are not feasible.

Generic Drugmaker Stada Seeks Buyer
Stada is offering itself as the last chance for pharmaceutical companies to enter the German market, the second-largest after the U.S. Teva just acquired its competitor Ratiopharm for €3.6 billion.