Letter from our CEO
At Merck, we have been committed to our mission of saving and improving lives for nearly 130 years. Over that time, we have been responsible for some of the most significant scientific advancements and improvements in public health.
Any one individual can make the scientific breakthrough needed to discover a new medicine. I’m reminded of our esteemed former colleague, Maurice Hilleman, the father of modern vaccines, whose centenary we celebrate this year. However, it takes the infrastructure of a company like Merck to translate invention into a product that can help millions of people every day. Operating responsibly as a business is at the very heart of our ability to do so.
Our 2018/2019 Corporate Responsibility Report reviews our progress against our four key areas of corporate responsibility: Access to Health, Employees, Environmental Sustainability and Ethics & Values. It represents our commitment to widely recognized reporting frameworks that reflect key environmental, social and governance issues, and our support for the 10 universally accepted principles of the UN Global Compact.
Our industry is facing some challenging headwinds, but our commitment to corporate responsibility will not waver. The number of health care and drug pricing reforms being considered is possibly at an all-time high. Health care costs, especially a patient’s out-of-pocket costs, need to be addressed. We want to help find a sustainable solution, and we will continue to work with stakeholders and be transparent about our efforts. We have a history of responsible pricing and publicly disclose information about our prices in the United States. This includes our pledge not to increase our average net prices across our portfolio by more than the rate of inflation annually.
Whatever may come, we remain steadfast in our focus on following the science to see where we can have the greatest impact on patients’ lives. After all, R&D is the main source of the biopharmaceutical industry’s value to society. As we look to the future, we’re making investments in our pipeline and manufacturing capability to help protect one billion more lives by 2030.
We have a legacy of tackling urgent global health challenges. For example, Merck for Mothers, our global initiative to reduce maternal mortality around the world, empowers women to make informed choices; equips health care providers; and strengthens health care systems. Working with more than 160 partners, our programs have improved access to quality care and modern contraception for more than nine million women in 48 countries.
I am proud that our investigational vaccine is being delivered and having an impact in areas of Central Africa affected by the Ebola virus. Some may say that investing to develop an Ebola vaccine doesn’t make good business sense, but I believe this is the kind of challenge that Merck was designed to tackle.
Corporate responsibility initiatives like Merck for Mothers and our investigative Ebola vaccine make us an attractive employer for people who want to change the world. And it adds to the sense of purpose that keeps us going.
That purpose was captured by our modern-day founder, George W. Merck, who said, “Medicine is for the people, not for the profits.” For me, only two metrics truly matter — how many people you help, and how much help you give those people.
Promoting enduring social good and securing business success are inextricably linked. While there is always more to do, I would like to thank all our employees, our suppliers and our partners for the work they do every day toward these goals. The activities highlighted in this report are a testament to the incredible impact they are having all around the world.
Kenneth C. Frazier
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer