Through our business operations, public policy, and outreach efforts, we work to address the health needs of people in all circumstances by developing and fostering broad access to innovative products. We adopt positions and advocate for changes that will improve access to medicines and vaccines while maintaining proper incentives for valuable innovation.

Our commitment to access and affordability

The issues related to access are varied and complex. Our approach seeks to combine our strengths and abilities, working in close partnership with governments, donors, patient organizations, healthcare professionals, nongovernmental organizations, multilateral organizations, and others in the private sector.

We are taking steps to advance this objective:

  • Through a multi-pronged strategy, we are improving access to medicines and vaccines by examining our approach to research and development, manufacturing and supply, registration, commercialization, and community investment. To guide this worldwide approach, we developed the Access to Health Statement of Guiding Principles and we strive to embed these principles into our operations and business strategies.
  • In the developing world, including Africa and parts of Latin America and Asia, we believe we have an important role and responsibility to help accelerate access to our medicines and vaccines where access is most lacking. Access is determined by many interrelated elements – some countries may lack basic medical infrastructure, some patients may have limited access to hospitals or clinics, or in some places there may be shortages of trained healthcare personnel. We have taken this into account in our own work and how we work with others. We engage in a wide range of public/private partnerships and other collaborations to spur progress and new approaches to fighting diseases that affect the developing world.
  • In emerging markets, such as China, India, Brazil and Russia, we are undertaking opportunities to expand our business and provide our medicines and vaccines to new patients.
  • In developed countries, access to medicines may be reduced by a lack of affordable healthcare coverage or long waiting times before innovative medicines are approved or made broadly available. We believe greater access can be achieved through a strategy that combines the following:
    • pricing our products responsibly and, where necessary, donating our products to those who lack healthcare coverage;
    • working with customers to create and implement flexible approaches to pricing, including performance-based contracts, to ensure that payers’ funds are used wisely to achieve improved patient outcomes;
    • advocating for healthcare reforms that will allow citizens greater access to treatment and care;
    • promoting and participating in public/private partnerships to address chronic and infectious disease and other complex health challenges; and
    • making our medicines available to eligible patients who cannot afford them through our U.S. patient assistance programs.
    We are also committed to greater transparency about our pricing practices, such as our commitment to disclose information on price increases for our medicines and vaccines in the United States.

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Adam Schechter A perspective from Adam Schechter, president of Global Human Health at Merck

Public Policy Position Statements

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