Diversity and inclusion strengthen everything we do

From fostering an inclusive and supportive culture to working with diverse suppliers, diversity and inclusion are integral to helping us better serve patients

September 19, 2023

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As Merck’s chief diversity officer, Celeste Warren strives to ensure that our policies and practices provide an equal opportunity for all so that our workforce reflects the diversity of the world.

“This enables us to better understand the needs of the patients, health care providers and customers we serve,” said Warren.

And that means embedding a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion at every level of the organization, a commitment that’s central to our business growth as well as to our employees’ well-being.

diverse employees talking in an office

While our strategic approach to building a diverse, inclusive and positive environment is part of the work we do every day, we also dedicate a full month to fostering meaningful discussions and learning. Making September Global Diversity & Inclusion (GD&I) Experience Month allows us to pause, reflect and celebrate all our important work and identify new opportunities for growth.

Prioritizing diversity and inclusion benefits employees and our business

Since our first GD&I Experience Month in 2015, we’ve made a lot of progress on our diversity and inclusion efforts in our workplace, including:

  • Strong membership growth across our 10 employee business resource groups (EBRGs), with approximately 21,500 employees who belong to EBRGs.
  • Launch of an internal Ally Resource Center to provide access to resources and educational materials to support each employee’s D&I learning journey.
  • Establishment of an internal Ally Ambassador Program to create a network of D&I leaders who provide resources, share knowledge and facilitate conversations to embed a culture of belonging, allyship for all, and psychological safety across our organization.
  • Development of an integrated disability inclusion strategy to create a disability-confident workplace culture where people with disabilities feel accepted, connected and can contribute to our purpose of using the power of leading-edge science to save and improve lives around the world.
Celeste Warren

“Building and enriching our diverse and inclusive environment involves everyone.”

  • Celeste Warren
    Vice president of global diversity and inclusion

“When every single employee embraces a welcoming mindset and can fully appreciate the experiences of others, then better discussions, decisions and outcomes will follow,” said Warren.

This approach also applies to how we do business, as we continue building momentum in a variety of priority areas, such as our work to:

“While we celebrate all we’ve accomplished and what makes us unique during GD&I Experience Month, we know we have more work to do,” said Warren. “We’ll continue to share best practices with other organizations, listen for new ideas, debate points of view and create environmental, cultural and business change to break down barriers and become better allies, role models, colleagues and citizens.”


Macrocyclic peptides: the next wave of drug discovery

Merck scientists say the “Goldilocks” chemical modality could lead to new ways to impact disease

September 14, 2023

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Small molecules, generally taken as pills, make up nearly 90% of medicines used today. It’s hard to think of a world without them. The use of small molecules has been critical in expanding the reach of and access to medicines around the world.

But it’s challenging for small molecules to impact the large featureless surfaces of protein-protein interactions, which govern a wide range of biological processes in our bodies. To target these interactions, scientists have turned to large molecule biologic therapies, like monoclonal antibodies, which — taken by infusion or injection — have been critical in advancing the treatment of many diseases, including some cancers and autoimmune disorders.

Over a decade ago, Merck scientists began investigating a way to engineer a new type of medicine combining the ease-of-administration of a small molecule with the potency and target specificity of an antibody.

Macrocyclic peptides have shown promise in achieving this balance.

“Macrocyclic peptides allow us to cast a wider net on the protein interactions we want to drug, providing a vast and untapped opportunity to access a wider range of targets and potentially new ways to treat different diseases,” said Dani Schultz, director of chemistry, Merck Research Laboratories.

Not too big, not too small: the “Goldilocks” modality

Macrocyclic peptides have been called the “Goldilocks” chemical modality because their intermediate size combines the favorable properties of both small molecules and biologics¹. And thanks to their unique ring shape, macrocyclic peptides can cover more surface area to potentially disrupt protein-protein interactions more so than traditional, linear-shaped peptide therapies.

“The design and invention of macrocyclic peptides is notoriously complicated,” said David Thaisrivongs, director of chemistry in Merck Research Laboratories.

“Similarly, scaling production up for a macrocyclic peptide small molecule, with four to five times the size and complexity of a typical small molecule, represented a bold endeavor.”

  • David Thaisrivongs
    Director of chemistry, MSD Research Laboratories

For Merck, this work started by screening large libraries of cyclic peptides using messenger RNA display technology. This led to the identification of cyclic peptide leads that were optimized using 3-dimensional protein structure-based design and advanced computational techniques. Further molecular iterations and refinements improved the absorption, potency, and stability of the first candidate.

“A diverse, interdisciplinary team of skilled and determined people from across our chemistry organization has dedicated substantial efforts to advancing this science,” said Thaisrivongs.

A peptide renaissance

These macrocyclic peptide discovery efforts may one day allow us to treat diseases that have long evaded traditional small molecule approaches or improve access to medicines previously available only as an injectable.

“Macrocyclic peptides are a new modality and we’re still in the early stages of understanding their potential to impact disease and patient care,” said Schultz.

“There’s no playbook here, we’re innovating and developing new techniques on how to optimize and synthesize macrocyclic peptides — it’s really thrilling for me as a scientist because the potential is huge.”

  • Dani Schultz
    Director of chemistry, Merck Research Laboratories
Dani Schultz

[1] Beyond 20 in the 21st century: strengths, opportunities, and challenges of non-canonical amino acids in peptide drug discovery. Jennifer L. Hickey; A Dan Sindhikara; B Susan L. Zultanski  and Danielle M. Schultz


Taking on Zaire ebolavirus

How science and innovation fuel our efforts to help combat a rare but potentially deadly disease

September 11, 2023

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Taking on Ebola
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Patients inspire us to pursue the best science in our inventions and everything we do. Every innovation has the potential to help build a healthier, more hopeful future for people everywhere — which means taking on some of today’s global health challenges, including Ebola.

Leading the effort to combat Zaire ebolavirus

Our company is a health care leader in the fight against Zaire ebolavirus. Along with external collaborators from all sectors, our scientists are at the forefront of the response to outbreaks of this deadly disease as we continue to help address this global health challenge. Zaire ebolavirus has had a devastating impact on the world and has proved itself to be a potentially deadly and contagious disease, with a survival rate of 50%. While there are six identified Ebola virus species, the Zaire ebolavirus strain has been the leading cause of outbreaks over the last 20 years.

Global public health preparedness against future Zaire ebolavirus outbreaks requires advanced planning, system readiness for rapid deployment and collaboration and partnership between public and private entities around the world. Our partnerships with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other health partners around the globe are a crucial component of our commitment to helping save and improve lives.

“It’s something that we take incredibly seriously and with a great sense of urgency to make sure that we do everything we can to help support the teams on the front lines,” says Beth-Ann Coller, distinguished scientist, clinical research, vaccines.

“Our team works with a 24/7 mentality to help tackle these outbreaks.”

Beth-Ann Coller

Distinguished scientist, clinical research, vaccines

In 2021, we established an agreement with UNICEF to create the world’s first global Ebola Zaire stockpile, the result of breakthrough innovation and collaboration with four leading international health and humanitarian organizations across the world. The global stockpile offers a critical, rapid-response tool.

“It has been our honor to collaborate with WHO, Gavi, UNICEF, the U.S. government and many others in supporting outbreak preparedness and response efforts,” said Drew Otoo, president of global vaccines. “Through these collaborations, we demonstrate what’s possible when partners come together to pursue a common purpose for patients.”

This level of collaboration continues to be needed for Zaire ebolavirus and other diseases. We remain committed to working in collaboration with global and local health partners to support current and future outbreak response efforts.

Sarampión: síntomas y signos

Obtenga más información sobre qué es el virus del sarampión y cómo se propaga el sarampión

September 8, 2023

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¿Qué es el sarampión?

El sarampión es un virus altamente contagioso que vive en la mucosidad de la nariz y la garganta de una persona infectada. Los síntomas aparecen entre 7 y 14 días después del contacto con el virus.

Los síntomas comunes del sarampión incluyen:

Cómo se propaga el sarampión

¿El sarampión se transmite por el aire?

El virus del sarampión puede vivir hasta 2 horas en un espacio aéreo donde una persona infectada tosió o estornudó.

¿Cuál es la tasa de transmisión del sarampión?

Si una persona tiene sarampión, hasta el 90% de las personas en riesgo cercanas a esa persona también se infectarán.

¿Durante cuánto tiempo es contagioso el sarampión?

Las personas infectadas pueden contagiar el sarampión a otras personas desde 4 días antes hasta 4 días después de que aparezca el sarpullido.

¿Cuánto dura el período de incubación del sarampión?

Después de estar expuesto al virus del sarampión, puede incubarse hasta por 21 días.

¿El sarampión causa complicaciones?

El sarampión puede causar complicaciones de salud graves, como infecciones de oído, diarrea, neumonía y encefalitis (una inflamación del cerebro), lo que afecta la vida diaria de los pacientes y sus cuidadores (p. ej., puede provocar la pérdida de horas laborales o escolares).

El sarampión puede ser grave y provocar complicaciones.

  • Aproximadamente 1 de cada 5 personas en los EE.UU. que contraen sarampión son hospitalizadas.
  • Uno de cada 20 niños con sarampión contrae neumonía, la causa más común de muerte por sarampión en niños pequeños.
  • Aproximadamente entre 1 y 3 de cada 1,000 niños que se infectan con sarampión morirán por complicaciones respiratorias y neurológicas.

Comprender los brotes de sarampión


El sarampión fue declarado erradicado en EE.UU. en el año 2000.


En el 2019 hubo la mayor cantidad de casos de sarampión reportados en los EE.UU. desde 1992.

Antes de 1963, una década antes de hubiera una vacuna disponible, se calcula que entre 3 y 4 millones de estadounidenses contraían sarampión cada año, lo que provocaba entre 400 y 500 muertes y 48,000 hospitalizaciones al año.

Los casos de sarampión han aumentado en los EE. UU.

Hubo 1,282 casos reportados de sarampión en los EE.UU. en 2019.

Los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) informaron más casos de sarampión en 2019 que en cualquier año desde 1992.

En 2020, la cantidad de casos de sarampión en los EE.UU. se redujo significativamente, probablemente debido en parte a las regulaciones implementadas durante la pandemia de COVID-19. Sin embargo, estas mismas regulaciones resultaron en una disminución en las visitas rutinarias de bienestar infantil, lo que lleva a los expertos a creer que podría haber un aumento en los casos de sarampión a medida que disminuyen las restricciones.

El sarampión sigue siendo común en muchas partes del mundo, y los viajeros con sarampión continúan trayendo la enfermedad a los EE.UU. El sarampión se puede propagar rápidamente.


How we’re collaborating to address antimicrobial resistance – and why we can’t do it alone

Shared commitments like the AMR Action Fund are vital to make progress against this public health threat

September 8, 2023

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Antibiotics have transformed health care and saved countless lives. But rising levels of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) can make current antibiotics less effective. There’s no simple solution to the complex problem of AMR, but we’re committed to investing our expertise and resources alongside our partners to get antibiotics to those who need them most. Lives are at risk, and the time to act is now.

Through this groundbreaking partnership of over 20 leading pharmaceutical companies, philanthropies and organizations, we aim to bridge the gap between the innovative early antibiotic pipeline and patients. True to our legacy of preventing and treating infectious diseases, we’re proud of our commitment to invest $100 million over 10 years in the AMR Action Fund. The fund’s collective goal is to bring two to four novel antibiotics to patients and physicians by 2030.

As of early 2023, the AMR Action Fund has invested in five small biotech companies advancing research for new medicines to fight some of the most dangerous bacteria as determined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

Here are five reasons collaborative efforts are key to addressing AMR:


New antibiotics are urgently needed; however, there are relatively few in development.

The future of antibiotic innovation is at serious risk. Major scientific, regulatory and economic challenges discourage innovation in antibiotics, resulting in a decline in the number of companies conducting antimicrobial R&D. Recognizing there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem, our company and others have suggested a series of policy reforms across several regions of the world. However, time is running out. We need collaboration from policymakers to help antibiotic innovation flourish for decades to come.


Once new antibiotics are approved, they need to be used responsibly.

At Merck, we’re making significant investments to support antimicrobial stewardship (AMS), a broad term for the implementation of evidence-based policies to slow resistance to current antimicrobials. Our investments and partnerships help hospitals around the world develop and implement patient-centered AMS programs that are customized locally based on factors like epidemiology, clinical setting and resource availability to support the responsible prescribing and use of antimicrobials. We also provide significant grant funding to support a wide range of AMS initiatives and collaborations.

Some of our global contributions to AMS include:

  • Supporting the development of several AMS Centers of Excellence throughout the world.
  • Helping public health leaders effectively monitor and address emerging AMR infections, promote AMS and customize accepted AMS strategies to meet local needs.
  • Providing significant grant-funding for numerous investigator-initiated AMS research projects.


Tracking resistance trends and using data to help doctors prescribe the right medicines remains critical.

Our company has been tracking global resistance trends for over 20 years. This data helps doctors prescribe the right medicines. One of the largest and longest-running AMR surveillance programs, our Study for Monitoring Antimicrobial Resistance Trends (SMART) program has collected nearly 500,000 Gram-Negative bacterial isolates from around 220 sites in more than 60 countries since 2002.

We’re also a partner of the AMR Register, a first-ever online platform that allows pharmaceutical companies to securely share data on infection-causing pathogens with researchers, national governments and multilateral organizations working to fight AMR.


AMR extends beyond human health.

The challenge of AMR is multifaceted, and a One Health approach to creating policies is critical to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment.

When it comes to animal health, vaccines can help minimize the need for antibiotics. Merck Animal Health is one of the largest manufacturers of animal health vaccines, supplying over 102 billion doses each year.

Protecting the environment through responsible manufacturing is another key component of the One Health approach. We work with our partners in the AMR Industry Alliance to inform science-based manufacturing standards to help ensure scrutiny of industry manufacturing supply chains.


The time to act against AMR is now.

With collaboration across the scientific community and policymakers, AMR is preventable.

We all have a role to play as we prepare for the next health crisis. We must act now to put measures in place to ensure we have the antibiotics we need.

“AMR is not a future problem — it’s here now, threatening human, animal and environmental health as we know it. We must take swift, collaborative action to help reduce the risk of AMR before it’s too late,” said Jennifer Zachary, executive vice president and general counsel at Merck and member of the Global Leaders Group on AMR.

To learn more about the investments that the AMR Action Fund is making to help ensure patients and physicians have access to effective antimicrobials –- now and in the future –- please visit their website.


Improving diversity in clinical trials through Beacon of Hope

Unique collaboration expands our clinical trials efforts to four Historically Black Medical School Clinical Trial Centers of Excellence

September 6, 2023

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Increasing diversity in clinical trials plays a crucial role in helping to understand how a broad range of human bodies may respond to treatments. That’s why our company joined Beacon of Hope, an initiative created by Novartis and the Novartis U.S. Foundation to create greater diversity, equity and inclusion across the research and development ecosystem.

Through this collaboration, we’re working to operate clinical trials through four Historically Black Medical School Clinical Trial Centers of Excellence established under Beacon of Hope.  These schools are: Morehouse School of Medicine, Howard University College of Medicine, Meharry Medical College and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. The trials are conducted by investigators and trial managers of color and include participants from underrepresented communities.

“Merck is proud to participate in a collaboration focused on improving enrollment of underrepresented people in clinical trials with the common goal of ensuring these trials appropriately reflect the diversity of the patients we serve worldwide.”

  • Andy Lee
    Head of global clinical trial operations, Merck

More about Beacon of Hope

Established in 2021, Beacon of Hope is an innovative collaboration with 26 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and companies and organizations working together to address root causes of disparities in health and education. The initiative supports increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in clinical trials, new research into health care disparities, and breaking down barriers that often stand in the way of promising career opportunities for students of color.

Merck joined Beacon of Hope in 2022.

Our approach to increasing diversity in clinical trials

We take a multipronged approach in our efforts to conduct trials that include people from different backgrounds. It includes selecting trial sites with inclusion in mind, outreach and education tailored to communities, and ongoing learning from subject matter experts.

“A singular approach will not solve the challenge we face with the lack of diversity in U.S. clinical trials today — it has to be addressed from a higher level alongside our peers and colleagues and within the communities where potential participants live,” said Adrelia Allen, senior director of clinical trial patient diversity. “We know we can’t do this alone, and we must come together.”

“Diversity in our trials is not just an initiative — it’s our way of working. It’s woven into all steps of the trial process, and it must be proactive — not reactive.”

  • Adrelia Allen
    Executive director of clinical trial patient diversity, Merck

Explore some of our other stories about diversity in clinical trials


Progress in ovarian cancer research starts with patients

Reflecting on the history of clinical research and our inspiration to continue innovating for ovarian cancer patients

August 24, 2023

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This article was written by Dr. Scot Ebbinghaus, VP, clinical research.

A history of groundbreaking research

More than sixty years ago, in 1958, British chemist and X-ray crystallographer Dr. Rosalind Franklin died following a two-year fight with ovarian cancer. She was only 37 years old. Her pioneering research provided the key to deciphering the structure and function of DNA — and ultimately the blueprint for life.

In 1962 her collaborators, James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, were awarded the Nobel Prize for their “discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material.” Dr. Franklin’s untimely death denied her the acclaim of this prestigious scientific award (the Nobel Committee does not award the prize posthumously), but her role in this fundamental discovery has been well-documented and is now widely recognized.

Dr. Franklin’s story of a life cut short by ovarian cancer remains all too common. In the U.S., ovarian cancer accounts for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.

Even today, advanced ovarian cancer remains one of the most difficult cancers to treat.

Only about one-third of patients with metastatic ovarian cancer survive five years after diagnosis. By contrast, when the cancer is caught early, the odds of surviving at least five years after diagnosis are much better. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of women are diagnosed at an early stage.

Group of women talking

It is estimated that:

  • In 2023, 19,710 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and about 13,270 will die from the disease.
  • About half of all women in the U.S. who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer are 63 years or older.

Ovarian cancer more often causes signs and symptoms when the disease has spread, but can also cause nonspecific signs and symptoms in the early stages. Ovarian cancer is generally diagnosed after it has spread to other parts of the body.

The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic pain
  • Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
  • Always feeling like you have to urinate, or having to urinate often
Women sitting at table talking

These symptoms are also commonly caused by non-cancerous diseases and by other cancers. When they are caused by ovarian cancer, they tend to be persistent and a change from normal.

Helping advance ovarian cancer research

There remains a reason for optimism. The pace of change in cancer treatment has increased dramatically in recent years. Advances in research have given us a deeper understanding of how to target the disease, paving the way for new developments.

At Merck, we’re focused on translating breakthrough science into oncology therapeutics. We recognize that no two patients or cancers are the same, and multiple approaches — therapeutic regimens and mechanisms of action — will be needed to outpace this disease. That’s why we have worked rigorously to expand and diversify our own internal research programs.

There’s still work to be done, but we believe strongly in our potential to transform the way certain cancers are treated. And, we’re constantly inspired to work harder by stories like Dr. Rosalind Franklin’s.

Health awareness

Acting early in cancer detection

Diagnosing cancer early, before it has spread, may potentially lead to better outcomes

August 18, 2023

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Time is important with a cancer diagnosis. People with cancer may have the opportunity for better outcomes when the disease is detected early. And with increases in routine cancer screening, more cancer cases can be diagnosed before the disease has spread to other parts of the body.

“We’ve seen incredible progress in the fight against cancer in recent decades, driven by advances in early detection and the availability of new treatment options.”

  • Dr. Scot Ebbinghaus
    Vice president, oncology clinical research

“This progress makes me optimistic for a future where cancer is detected and treated as early as possible, giving patients the greatest chance to live cancer-free. We can’t rest now — I’m hopeful that we will continue to build on what we’ve learned about helping people with earlier stages of disease,” said Ebbinghaus.

But important work remains to continue to improve care and diagnose cancer early.

What is early-stage cancer?

After someone is diagnosed with cancer, doctors will try to figure out how much cancer is in the body and if their disease has spread — this process is called staging, which can help guide treatment decisions. Different cancer stages have different treatments and possible outcomes, and they’re associated with different odds of recurrence. 

Early-stage is a term that can be used to describe cancer that’s early in its growth, before it has spread to other parts of the body. However, each person’s experience with cancer is unique, and what doctors may define as early-stage can vary by the type of cancer.

When cancer is diagnosed, the goals of treatments are to slow, stop and possibly eliminate tumor growth.

Treatment may be more likely to be successful if it’s started before the cancer has spread, when surgery is a potential option. However, even after surgery, there is a risk that the cancer may spread to other parts of the body. Additional treatment may help lower that risk. In certain instances, other treatment options can be used before surgery (neoadjuvant) to help to reduce the size of the tumor, and/or after surgery (adjuvant) to lower the chance of the cancer from potentially coming back.

Detecting and treating cancer early may help reduce the risk of recurrence and increase the potential for survival.

Health awareness

Endometrial cancer: Understanding the signs and symptoms

Learn more about how you can detect endometrial cancer

August 10, 2023

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As we age, it’s important to recognize changes in the body. Irregular periods, postmenopausal bleeding, abnormal discharge, changes to bladder or bowel habits – these shifts can seem like a part of getting older. But for some, these changes can signal a more serious issue, as many mirror the symptoms of gynecologic cancers.

What is endometrial cancer?

Endometrial cancer is the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs in the U.S. It occurs when cancerous cells form in the tissues of the endometrium or inner lining of the uterus.

How can I learn if I’m at risk for endometrial cancer?

While age, family history and lifestyle choices impact the risk of endometrial cancer, conditions that affect the body’s estrogen levels can also play a role. For example:

  • Hormone replacement therapy for menopause often includes an increase of estrogen to manage menopausal symptoms.
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) usually creates higher estrogen levels.
  • Estrogen modulators may cause the uterine lining to grow.
  • Certain comorbidities, including obesity and type 2 diabetes, have been linked as risk factors for endometrial cancer. For example, in people with obesity, fat tissue can convert certain hormones into estrogen, which increase the levels in the body.

Studies show Black women are more likely to be diagnosed with endometrial cancer than white women.


What to watch out for:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Pelvic pain
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Postmenopausal bleeding
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Changes to bowel or bladder habits

How is endometrial cancer diagnosed?

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about getting screened. Tests to diagnose it may include:

  • Endometrial biopsy: A thin, flexible tube is inserted into the uterus to collect a tissue sample from the endometrium.
  • Dilation and curettage: The cervix is dilated to collect tissue from the inner lining of the uterus.
  • Hysteroscopy: An instrument with a light and lens for viewing is inserted into the uterus to look for abnormal areas.
  • Ultrasound: A probe is inserted into the vagina to produce images that are used to assess the pelvic organs, including the uterus.

physician and lady talking

Being diagnosed with endometrial cancer can be scary. But by speaking with your doctor, you can better understand your options and build the best path forward.


Merck publishes Impact Report 2022/2023

Letter from our chairman and chief executive officer, Rob Davis

August 9, 2023

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Rob Davis

Dear Stakeholders,

Thank you for your interest in Merck and our ongoing commitment to operating responsibly and creating value for patients, our stakeholders and our business. We continue to take inspiration from our purpose and our unique opportunity to use the power of leading-edge science to save and improve lives around the world.

Sustainable value creation is core to how we do business as we work to advance global health, apply innovative science and ultimately protect and improve the health of people and animals through the development and delivery of medicines, vaccines and technology solutions. We’re passionate about this work and committed to making a positive difference for patients and the world while driving strong business outcomes. Working globally as One Team, we organize our sustainability efforts across four focus areas to create long-term value: 1) expanding access to health; 2) developing and rewarding a diverse, inclusive and healthy workforce; 3) protecting the environment; and 4) operating with the highest standards of ethics and values.

Expanding access to health

Two years ago, we set a goal to enable 100 million more people to access our innovative portfolio globally, through access strategies, solutions and partnerships, by 2025. We exceeded this goal already in 2022. As a result, we increased our ambition and more than tripled our original goal. We now aim to enable 350 million more people to access our innovative portfolio by 2025.

We’re eager to reach more people not only now, but in the years to come. To this end, we pursued new scientific discoveries with an investment last year of $13.5 billion in research and development. In total, our products and pipeline seek to address 83% of the top 20 global burdens of diseases.

In 2022, our MECTIZAN® Donation Program turned 35 years old. The longest-running disease-specific drug donation program of its kind, this successful effort to combat river blindness and lymphatic filariasis reached nearly 360 million people last year1. We also invested $38 million to advance health equity through initiatives like Merck for Mothers. These investments support our goal to reach over 30 million people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and in U.S. underserved populations with our social investments, by 2025. We surpassed this goal as well in 2022. Our new goal is to reach over 50 million people in LMICs, underserved populations in the U.S. and, going forward, underserved populations in other high-income countries, by 2025.

Developing and rewarding a diverse, inclusive and healthy workforce

We’re committed to investing in our colleagues and building a strong pipeline of talent as an employer of choice. Across our organization, we value diversity and inclusion as both an ethical and business priority.

We’re becoming even more inclusive in our hiring, working with organizations including OneTen, a business coalition striving to close the opportunity gap for Black workers without four-year college degrees. In order to create more access to meaningful career opportunities for diverse candidates, we posted about 900 job openings not requiring a four-year degree, which was twice as many as the previous year. In addition, in 2022 we hosted 90 student interns through Year Up, a nonprofit serving economically disadvantaged young people. Women represented more than half of our new hires globally, and in the U.S., 47% of new hires came from underrepresented ethnic groups.

We have a longstanding commitment to fair and equitable pay for all employees doing similar work. In the U.S., our 2022 study found that we had achieved greater than 99% pay equity for female and male employees, as well as non-white (including Black, Hispanic and Asian employees) and white employees. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion also extends to our business partners. Last year, we spent $3.2 billion with diverse Tier 1 and 2 suppliers globally.

Protecting the environment

Our company has a long history of environmental stewardship, and we believe a healthy planet is essential to improving health and protecting the sustainability of our business. As part of this work, we have committed to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to set a net-zero target for our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across our global operations (Scopes 1, 2, 3).

We know that each of our research, production and office facilities plays a role in achieving our goals for energy efficiency, waste reduction and overall sustainability. In 2022, we created a Waste Diversion Playbook to help sites contribute to our goals through local waste-diversion strategies, such as composting and recycling, and environmentally responsible procurement practices.

Operating with the highest standards of ethics and values

We operate responsibly every day, holding ourselves to the highest standards of ethics and values. Our code of conduct defines our corporate character and helps us protect our reputation as a trustworthy company. We maintain 100% compliance to regulatory requirements for active incident monitoring, risk and harm analysis, and timely notification of data breaches. We also encourage employees to speak up and report potential concerns, ensuring our ethics and values are reflected in all we do.

As a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), Merck remains committed to improving our communities through our operations, aligning our efforts with the Ten Principles of the UNGC.

In late 2021, we announced the issuance of our first $1 billion sustainability bond to support initiatives and partnerships contributing to the advancement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Through June 2022, we allocated $760 million of the net proceeds toward social and green projects, in alignment with our sustainability financing framework.

While my colleagues and I are pleased by our 2022 progress, we remain committed to doing more to advance and protect the health of our employees, communities and planet. Indeed, I want to thank our colleagues and partners for the passion and expertise brought to this work every day. I’m honored to work alongside such a talented and dedicated team.

Thank you again for your interest in our company’s progress and performance. We’re excited for our future — and the unique opportunity we have to make a difference through our research, our medicines and vaccines, and our enduring commitment to sustainable innovation and value creation.

Very best regards,

Rob Davis

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

1 Countries receiving donated Mectizan are located in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, South America, and the Western Pacific