Merck hires a VP from government

WHITEHOUSE STATION, NJ: A former US Social Security Administration deputy commissioner has been hired by pharmaceutical giant Merck as corporate communications VP.

WHITEHOUSE STATION, NJ: A former US Social Security Administration deputy commissioner has been hired by pharmaceutical giant Merck as corporate communications VP.

WHITEHOUSE STATION, NJ: A former US Social Security Administration deputy commissioner has been hired by pharmaceutical giant Merck as corporate communications VP.

Joan Wainwright is responsible for media relations and internal and executive communications. Her key challenges include conveying Merck's commitment to increasing access to medications. 'Merck has been one of the leaders in the debate about prescription drug coverage,' she said.

She is also committed to increasing Internet use as a tool to convey information to physicians and consumers.

Well-known Merck brands include Vioxx, Zocor and Singulair. Twelve people staff the internal PR team.

Wainwright was employed in the social security office for more than five years. One of her challenges there was revamping social security statements.

Federal law required the statements be sent to anyone 25 and older starting October 1999. 'We saw this as a tremendous communications opportunity and wanted to make it the best product possible,' she said.

Phil Gambino has served as acting deputy commissioner since Wainwright's departure, but the agency is still looking for a permanent replacement.





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