Merck Announces Collaboration to Improve Maternal Health through Expanded Access to Family Planning


July 11, 2012 9:15 am ET

Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada,
and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced that they will
work together to expand access to family planning, a critical step in
improving the health of women around the world. Merck intends to pledge
up to $25 million over eight years as part of Merck for Mothers
the company’s 10-year initiative to reduce maternal mortality around the
world. This pledge will be matched by the Gates Foundation as part of
its commitment to family planning. These contributions will advance
efforts to help reach United Nations Millennium Development Goal 5,
which calls for a 75 percent reduction in maternal mortality and
universal access to reproductive health by 2015.

The announcement, made today at the London Summit on Family Planning, is
part of a new, coordinated effort to ensure that voluntary family
planning services reach an additional 120 million women and girls in the
world’s poorest countries by 2020. More than 150 leaders from donor and
developing countries, international agencies, civil society, foundations
and the private sector also pledged their support to improving access to
family planning information, services and supplies.

“Merck is proud to work in collaboration with the Gates Foundation to
help to ensure that many more women around the world have the
information and services they need to make practical and informed
choices about planning their families,” said Kenneth C. Frazier, Merck’s
chairman and CEO. “This important initiative will help us accelerate the
work of Merck for Mothers in saving women’s lives.”

Family planning is recognized as playing an important role in reducing
maternal mortality because it decreases the number of high-risk
pregnancies and allows mothers sufficient time to recover between
pregnancies. Experts estimate that more than 200 million women who wish
to safely plan and space their births do not have access to modern
family planning services and information, placing them at greater risk
of death and disability during pregnancy and childbirth.

“New and innovative partnerships like this one play a key role in giving
women access to family planning,” said Chris Elias, president of Global
Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Family planning is
one of the best investments a country can make in its future.”

The new collaboration between Merck and the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation will focus on three key areas:

  • Increasing awareness of and education about family planning services
    among women and girls in resource-limited settings
  • Improving the supply chain for quality family planning resources and
    services to improve maternal health
  • Working with governments, the private sector, civil society and local
    health providers to increase support and access to family planning

Global disparities in women’s access to family planning services are
striking – the unmet need for family planning can be as high as 40
percent in countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The collaboration will
target countries with the greatest need for family planning services.

About Merck

Today’s Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be
well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada.
Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and
consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and
operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health
solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to
healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For
more information, visit
and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

About Merck for Mothers

Merck for Mothers is a 10-year, half-billion-dollar initiative to
create a world where no woman has to die from complications of pregnancy
and childbirth. Drawing on the company’s history of discovering
innovative, life-saving medicines and vaccines, Merck for Mothers
is applying Merck’s scientific and business expertise – as well as its
financial resources and experience in taking on tough global healthcare
challenges – to reduce maternal mortality around the world. As part of
its focus, the program seeks to accelerate access to proven solutions;
develop game-changing prevention, diagnostic, and treatment
technologies; and support public awareness, improved policies, and
broader private-sector engagement in the area of maternal health.

Forward-Looking Statement

This news release includes “forward-looking statements” within the
meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements may include,
but are not limited to, statements about the benefits of the merger
between Merck and Schering-Plough, including future financial and
operating results, the combined company’s plans, objectives,
expectations and intentions and other statements that are not historical
facts. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and
expectations of Merck’s management and are subject to significant risks
and uncertainties. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the
forward-looking statements.

The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to
differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements: the
possibility that all of the expected synergies from the merger of Merck
and Schering-Plough will not be realized, or will not be realized within
the expected time period; the impact of pharmaceutical industry
regulation and health care legislation in the United States and
internationally; Merck’s ability to accurately predict future market
conditions; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck’s patents and other
protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation
and/or regulatory actions.

Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking
statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or
otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ
materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be
found in Merck’s 2011 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other
filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at
the SEC’s Internet site (

Kelley Dougherty, (908) 423-4291
Justine O’Malley, (908) 406-2803
Carol Ferguson, (908) 423-4465

Unsubscribe from email alerts