Merck & Co., Inc. is a leading research-driven pharmaceutical products and services company. Merck discovers, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of innovative products to improve human and animal health.
The mission of Merck is to provide society with superior products and services - innovations and solutions that improve the quality of life and satisfy customer needs - to provide employees with meaningful work and advancement opportunities and investors with a superior rate of return.
Merck is engaged in several partnerships with multinational organizations, people living with HIV/AIDS and global leaders to help improve global access to HIV education, prevention, care and treatment. These efforts include the "Botswana Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnership" (together with the Republic of Botswana and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), participation in the UN/Industry Accelerating Access Initiative, and a new HIV pricing policy (implemented in March 2001) designed to help spur more affordable access to life-saving AIDS medications in more than 100 resource-scarce countries.
Merck is undertaking a number of related initiatives to address the impact of HIV/AIDS in the developing world with a focus on physician training and education, along with infrastructure development.
One approach is a unique program whose objective is to customize concrete, practical improvements to help advance the quality, delivery and outcomes of HIV care in developing countries that reflect local needs and realities. Known as The Enhancing Care Initiative (ECI), it is made possible by a $3 million grant from The Merck Company Foundation to the Harvard AIDS Institute. "Ninety-five percent of all HIV-infected people - more than 31 million people worldwide - live in the developing world, where access to medical and financial resources is extremely limited," said Dr. Richard Marlink, lead principal investigator of ECI and Executive Director of the Harvard AIDS Institute. "The tragic disparity between the poor and the rich is amplified by the AIDS epidemic, but we should not let this paralyze us. The ECI will bring together international and local experts to help developing countries make the most effective use of scarce resources to improve care for people living with HIV/AIDS."
The ECI will facilitate the development of multi-disciplinary teams of local experts and people living with HIV/AIDS in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, who best understand the unique challenges of their region. To support and advise these local AIDS Care Teams, an international panel of experts, the International HIV/AIDS Care Resources Group, has been assembled with leaders from UNAIDS, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and others.
The Harvard AIDS Institute and the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health & Human Rights, at the Harvard School of Public Health, coordinate the ECI - currently underway in Brazil and Senegal. An AIDS Care Team in Thailand is expected to be formed and plans are underway to select a team in South Africa.
The Brazil team will focus on HIV care for women through two studies: one will examine factors influencing differences in the quality of care among HIV-positive women who use the public health system and the other will analyze public health service and individual factors influencing AZT administration to pregnant women. Data from these studies will be used to improve health care policies, strategies, structures and processes for the care of women with HIV in Brazil.
The team in Senegal will conduct an in-depth analysis of the state of HIV/AIDS care in Senegal, identify the most pressing challenge in the care of people with HIV/AIDS, and develop an action plan to improve delivery and effectiveness of medical and social services in the community.
Since 1998, Merck has also been supporting African private sector companies to help them start antiretroviral programs for their employees. More than twenty company physicians in six African countries have benefited from training on HIV care in university hospitals in Antwerp, London and Paris. For example, comprehensive HIV care programs were begun in 1999 at the Compagnie Ivoirienne d'Electricité, Côte d'Ivoire, and at Alucam, Cameroon, in 2000, with the training of nine of their company physicians.
Merck's most important contribution in the battle against HIV/AIDS worldwide is continued research toward the discovery and development of innovative HIV antiviral drugs and a safe and effective HIV vaccine. Along with Merck's significant investment in HIV/AIDS research, Merck is committed to working with the HIV community, governments and non-governmental organizations to build better foundations of HIV care, to foster balanced efforts in prevention, education and treatment, and to help lessen the overall burden of HIV/AIDS worldwide.
Join My Village is a click-to-commit social change initiative that gives people the power to inspire charitable donations from companies to women and girls in Malawi. Join My Village is a project of CARE, a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty with a special focus on working alongside poor women. For each click of a mouse, $1 will be donated by Merck to send girls to school on scholarships, bring female teachers to village schools and give village women the resources to launch their own businesses. Merck also matches employee personal donations dollar for dollar.
GLOWM is designed to provide medical professionals worldwide with universal access to a vast and constantly updated, peer-reviewed resource of clinical information and guidance covering the whole field of women's medicine. GLOWM receives 2 million hits monthly from 160 countries.
Implanon and the Hand-to-Hand Campaign
In June 2011, Merck and the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) announced new commitments toward meeting the goal to provide 100 million more women with access to modern contraceptives by 2015. Merck committed to offer the long-acting contraceptive, Implanon, at a lower access price in low-income countries, thereby increasing affordability and choice for populations in need. Steps like this will help meet the family planning needs of almost 80 percent of women in low-income countries and build on the momentum of maternal and reproductive health efforts being undertaken by the United Nations Secretary-General, the governments of France and Germany, and an alliance established last year between the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Alliance
An innovative partnership to leverage public and private investment in global health to combat cervical and breast cancer — two of the leading causes of cancer death in women - in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon will expand the availability of vital cervical cancer screening and treatment and breast care education—especially for women most at risk of getting cervical cancer in developing nations because they are HIV-positive.
With initial commitments of $75 million across five years, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon will expand to achieve the following goals:
A handful of corporate partners are founding members in the initiative, including GBCHealth members, Becton Dickinson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Merck.
Merck for Mothers
Launched in September 2011, Merck for Mothers is a long-term effort with global health partners to create a world where no woman has to die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth (merckformothers.com). The launch includes a 10-year, half-billion-dollar initiative that applies Merck's scientific and business expertise to making proven solutions more widely available, developing new game-changing technologies and improving public awareness, policy efforts and private sector engagement for maternal mortality.