CNN — Drug maker Merck announced Tuesday that it will cut 8,500 more jobs worldwide.
These new cuts are in addition to a previously announced reduction of 7,500 jobs. The total job cuts work out to an elimination of about 20% of the drug company's worldwide workforce of 81,000 employees.
None of the job cuts have happened yet, said Merck spokeswoman Kelley Dougherty.
She also said the job cuts are unrelated to Obamacare, the health care plan championed by President Obama but opposed by Republicans in Congress.
Merck, based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., said the restructuring will result in pre-tax costs ranging from $2.5 billion to $3 billion. But the company also said it hopes to save about $2.5 billion annually by 2015.
Chief executive officer Kenneth Frazier, who was the company's lead counsel during its problems with the painkiller Vioxx, said the job cuts will make the company "more competitive" and "better positioned to drive innovation and to more effectively commercialize medicines and vaccines for the people who need them."
Shares of Merck, a member of the Dow Jones industrial average, were up more than 3% in premarket trading.