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After six years as GC of health care company Baxter International Inc., Thomas Sabatino, Jr., decided to become a medicine man of a different sort: executive vice president and general counsel of Schering-Plough Corporation. Sabatino, 45, is part of a new management team brought in to revive the ailing drug giant. The Kenilworth, New Jersey-based company needs all the help it can get. With its now off-patent allergy pill Claritin buckling to competition, the company’s profits have plummeted, and the prognosis for improved earnings has been grim. Schering-Plough also faces a slew of litigation, including a certified class action suit relating to the company’s compliance with Federal Drug Administration regulations. And, as if this were not enough to keep Sabatino busy, the federal government is also investigating the company’s pricing and managed care practices. So why would Sabatino trade his comfortable GC post at Baxter, where he had worked on and off since 1986, to head up the law department of a faltering company? Sabatino says he was inspired by Schering-Plough’s new CEO, Fred Hassan. “I really saw that he was making a difference,” says Sabatino. “I thought I could learn a lot by working with him.” So when Schering-Plough’s former GC, Joseph Connors, retired, Sabatino readily accepted an invitation to come aboard. Now knee-deep in turnaround efforts, Sabatino is working hard to help Claritin’s maker emerge from allergy season breathing easy. Meanwhile, back at the Deerfield, Illinois, headquarters of Baxter International, the law department is being led temporarily by deputy general counsel Marla Persky, 48. The company is currently conducting a search for a new GC.

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