Keith Symmers

Keith Symmers is vice-president of Best Practices, LLC, and can be reached at For more information about mergers and acquisitions, check


The Right Staff

Consider the following real-world scenario: Feb. 28-Apr. 14, 2000. Third-party auditors warn Schering-Plough (SP) of problems with product quality, including lack of quality control (QC) and high staff turnover. Dec. 20, 2000. SP's stock price reaches a high of $60 per share. Jan. 19, 2001. FDA completes an in-depth inspection of SP production facilities, identifying significant, repeated, and widespread QC violations dating to 1998. Several production lines are shut down and the Clarinex (desloratidine) launch is delayed.

Marriages Made in Heaven?

In recent years, some of the industry's largest companies have said "I do" at the merger altar. Midsized pharma, small biotech, and genomics companies have also joined the mating frenzy. The mixed results of those unions have left shareholders, customers, and employees wondering-are such marriages made in heaven or in hell?