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23rd March 2009
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Merck & Co in mega-deal with Schering-Plough

Emma Dorey, March 2009

Drug giants Merck & Co and Schering- Plough have announced plans to merge in a $41.1bn deal – just one in a spate of mega-mergers so far this year. Under pressure to increase revenues, large pharmaceutical firms are seeking scale, resources and diversified portfolios less vulnerable to generic competition. While Q1 2009 has seen colossal deals, future consolidation is expected to be smaller and more strategic.


COMAH: the future

Andrew Fowler, March 2009

It is 10 years since the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) regulations came into force, with the aim of preventing and mitigating the effects of major accidents involving dangerous substances. So what have we learnt since 1999, what has changed over the recent past, and what effect will these regulations have in the future? Incidents such as BP Texas City in March 2005, where 15 people were killed and a further 180 injured, and Buncefield, have led safety experts to review what value the COMAH regulations give and how they are implemented in the UK.


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Woes Continue

Neil Eisberg, March 2009

When the global economic situation changes as rapidly as it has over the last few months, real statistics can be very hard to come by. Certainly the reported financial performance of companies for Q4 2008 gives a shocking picture of plummeting demand, and some have given an indication in overall volume terms of the scale of that rapid decline in fortunes (C&I 2009, 4, 5; 5, 6).


The ambiguity of arsenic

March 2009

Is arsenic an aphrodisiac? The answer is no. Did people once think it was? The answer is yes. But this oddly titled book is not about sex, it’s about living and dying, and it answers much more interesting questions, including seemingly conflicting ones: ‘Is arsenic a cause of cancer?’ and ‘Is arsenic a cure for cancer?’ In both cases the answer is yes. Which sums up the duality of one of the most puzzling elements of the periodic table.


Movers & shakers

March 2009