Merck to buy back operating plantPharmaceutical giant Merck sold one of its operating plants more than two years ago to a Philadelphia-based firm. Now, however, the company wants it back.

The plant, based in Riverside, New Jersey, belonged to Merck for nearly 60 years before the corporation sold it to PRWT Services in early 2008. Earlier this month, Merck announced its intention to buy the plant back and reincorporate it into its production line.

"Merck has had a long and successful history at the site," company spokesman Ronald Rogers explained to "The products at the site are critical to our supply chain. Most importantly, they're critical to our customers. We felt it was important to ensure that the supply chain continues."

Rogers refused to comment on which company, Merck or PRWT, initiated the buyback. The price of the deal has also not been disclosed.

Despite plans to reorganize and rebuild the Riverside facility, Merck is downsizing internationally. The corporation plans to close seven international plants and one stateside facility located in Miami Lakes, Florida. Additionally, although Merck has roots in 140 countries, the drugmaker wants to reduce its international workforce by 15 percent - a move that would save $3.5 billion by 2012.

Merck, established in 1891 as a subsidiary of a German corporation, is one of the largest pharmaceutical operations in the United States. The company manufactures drugs including Singulair, a popular asthma medication, and Propecia, a treatment for male pattern baldness. The company also manufactured the arthritis treatment Vioxx, until revelations in 2004 showed the drug could cause medical problems and a recall was issued.
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