Merck & Co. Inc., created a new post of chief medical officer and today named the former dean of the Tufts University School of Medicine to the job.

Michael Rosenblatt, a Harvard Medical School graduate, will be the company's "primary voice to the global medical community and will speak to critical issues such as patient safety," Merck said in a statement.

Rosenblatt will also have the title of executive vice president. He will report directly to chairman, president and chief executive Richard T. Clark, the company said.

Merck, of Whitehouse Station, N.J., employs several thousand people in the Philadelphia region.

Rosenblatt was the Tufts med-school dean since 2003. Prior to that, at Harvard, he was the George R. Minot professor of medicine, and chief of the Division of Bone and Mineral Metabolism Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Harvard teaching hospital in Boston. He was president of the medical center from 1999 to 2001.

Earlier, he co-led the team that developed osteoporosis drug Fosamax at what was then Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories.    - Reid Kanaley