Merck is more than just a recognized leader in pharmaceutical innovation worldwide; we’re also a leader in helping people. Whether it’s the Merck Patient Assistance Program, providing unbiased medical information for patients and healthcare professionals, or aid for developing countries experiencing public health crises, Merck remains committed to broadening access to medicines and information.
The Merck Patient Assistance Program makes our medicines available to low-income Americans and their families at no cost. (See right.) In 2004, we introduced a new program to help Medicare beneficiaries. Through it, Merck provides discounts on medicines to 49 participating drug discount card programs established for Medicare beneficiaries, regardless of income level.
Merck is also a leader in the dissemination of medical information resources. In the 105 years since The Merck Manual was first published, Merck has published millions of copies of its manuals for physicians, healthcare providers and students all over the world. In 2004, we added The Merck Manual of Health & Aging to our list of titles, providing information on aging and the care of older people.
Because no relationship in healthcare is more important than that between patient and physician, our MerckSource Web site provides patients with an easy-to-use resource for everything from understanding basic anatomy to charting their medical history. Available on the internet at www.mercksource.com, MerckSource continues and builds on the Company’s tradition of offering free, unbiased medical and health information from physician-trusted sources.
Since Merck’s reach extends around the globe, so does our commitment to help provide our medicines to those who cannot afford them. Our Mectizan Donation Program, now in its 18th year, continues to safeguard more than 40 million people each year in 34 endemic countries from the scourge of river blindness. Last year, Merck expanded this commitment by donating an additional $2 million to support river blindness treatment programs in Africa and Latin America.
To help turn back the tide of HIV/AIDS, Merck continues to provide our antiretroviral medicines at prices at which we do not profit to those countries that are the poorest and hardest hit by the pandemic. We also provide our antiretrovirals at significant discounts to other developing countries. To date, nearly 70 countries have taken advantage of that offer–and more than 190,000 people are being treated with combinations containing either Stocrin or Crixivan. And in Botswana, where one-third of the adult population is infected with HIV, our joint partnership with the Government of Botswana and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supports that nation’s response to the disease through a comprehensive approach to prevention, care and treatment.
We reacted quickly in response to the tsunami tragedy that struck Asia and the eastern coast of Africa. Merck contributed a total of more than $10 million, including $3 million to the American Red Cross, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and several local agencies. Our donation also includes more than $7.4 million in medicines.
Our commitment to the Merck values that have sustained us throughout our history is as strong today as it has ever been.