Merck is working to save and improve lives around the world by inventing breakthrough medicines and vaccines – and ensuring they are available and affordable to patients who need them.

We have invested more than $60 billion in research and development since 2010.

Our investments fund the pursuit of life-changing discoveries to address critical medical needs in diseases that affect so many, including cancer and infectious diseases.

Medicines and Vaccines Benefit People and the
Health Care System

Medicines and vaccines created by innovative pharmaceutical companies including Merck are allowing millions of people worldwide to live longer, healthier, more productive lives. Medicines and vaccines also benefit health care systems and society because of their potential to reduce other costs in the system.

Innovative medicines have played an integral role in improving life expectancy over the last century.

In addition to reducing the burden of disease and saving lives, every dollar spent on childhood immunizations yields $44 in economic benefits.

The value of reductions in work days lost and hospital admissions in the U.S. thanks to pharmaceutical innovation is estimated to be three times bigger than the cost of new drugs used.

A one percent increase in the number of prescriptions filled would cause Medicare’s spending on medical services to fall by more than $1 billion according to a 2012 study by the Congressional Budget Office.

Generic Medicines: Providing Value for the Long Term

Every generic drug on the market today started as an innovative, branded medicine. The process of patent-protected medicines becoming low-priced generics is one of the greatest aspects of our health care system in the United States.

Generics help create budget offsets to fund new innovative treatments, while at the same time enabling spending on medicines to remain a small share of overall health care spending. That’s why we’re proud that in 2016, more than 42 million Americans benefited from Merck discoveries that are now generic medicines.


Today, almost 90 percent of the prescribed medicines Americans take are generics.

In 2016, more than 42 million Americans benefited from Merck discoveries that are now generic medicines.

For years, spending on all prescription medicines (branded and generic) has remained at less than 15 percent of total health expenditures in the United States.

We Recognize That More Needs to Be Done to
Address Affordability

Overall health care spending is predicted to grow to 20 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025. In addition, the out-of-pocket costs paid by consumers for health care services are projected to increase each year through 2025. These trends are not sustainable, and Merck is working with others to find solutions that will result in better health outcomes and lower costs.

  • Both in the United States and globally, we are working with a broad range of stakeholders to help develop and advance innovative financing and payment models with the objective of improving access. Learn more.
  • We support policy solutions that will directly address incentives in the U.S. health care system that cause many patients to pay high out-of-pocket costs for their medicines. We support the role of generic drug manufacturers in providing low cost products once intellectual property rights have expired.
  • In 2017, we introduced our first biosimilar in the United States at a list price 35 percent below the list price of its reference product. We also support policy changes to encourage greater biosimilar adoption.
  • In the United States, where patients share in the cost of their health care, we have programs to help eligible patients who cannot afford their medications.

“We understand that we can only be successful when the people who need our medicines and vaccines can get them. That’s why we are working so hard to address the affordability of medicines – and the cost of health care in general.”

– Muna Bhanji, senior vice president, Global Market Access

We are Committed to Responsible Pricing Practices

We have a long history of responsibly pricing our medicines and vaccines to reflect their value to patients, payers and society.

Merck was the first pharmaceutical company to publish a multi-year report about our pricing practices, including the rebates and discounts we provide to payers in the United States.

In 2018, we committed to not increase the average net price across our portfolio of products in the U.S. by more than inflation annually.

We are committed to inventing medicines and vaccines that save and improve lives around the world. It’s the most important thing we do. And we know we have to make sure that our inventions get into the hands of people who need them. That’s why we’re committed to addressing access and affordability – and ensuring that we can continue to invest in the next generation of Merck inventions.

Learn more about our work to improve access to health