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No. 5: Kenneth Frazier

Health Care Power 50

Kenneth Frazier, chairman and CEO, Merck.

In February, Kenilworth-based Merck said it would spin off products from its women’s health, trusted legacy brands and biosimilars businesses into a new – yet-to-be-named – independent, publicly traded company. It was the latest move by Frazier as president and CEO to refocus the giant drugmaker.

Nearly 90 products will be shifting to the new company, which include cholesterol treatments Zetia and Vytorin and the contraceptive Nexplanon—in total they generate annual sales of $6.5 billion. “By optimizing our human health portfolio, Merck can move closer to its aspiration of being the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company, while also properly prioritizing a set of products at NewCo that are important to public health and the patients who rely on them, and which present real opportunities for growth,” Frazier said at the time the spinoff was announced.

He joined Merck in 1992 as vice president, general counsel and secretary of the company’s joint venture with Astra AB and has served in his current role as CEO since 2011.

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