Your questions answered: How Merck is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic

January 25, 2021

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The COVID-19 pandemic is an unrivaled scientific and global health challenge and demands collaboration from across the scientific community. As a company with a long legacy of research in infectious disease, Merck knows we have a responsibility to mobilize our scientific expertise and experience to help address the pandemic.

Biologists working with microscope

A timeline of our SARS-CoV- 2/COVID-19 research efforts

Merck has been fully committed to developing an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic since it was first recognized, and we know that success will require global collaboration among countries and companies and more.

Pediatrician doctor examining a young female patient sitting on her mothers lap wearing masks.

We're fully committed

Learn more about what we’re doing to address COVID-19

We know many of you have questions and we want to answer them as best as we can. To help you navigate your questions, we’re providing the list of FAQs below.

Does Merck have medicines or vaccines for COVID-19? If not, is Merck developing any medicines and vaccines to help combat COVID-19?

Merck has been fully committed to developing an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic since it was first recognized, and we know that success will require global collaboration among countries and companies and more.

We are no longer developing our two early-phase vaccine candidates, but we are continuing to move with urgency to advance the development and manufacturing of two investigational therapeutics – a novel immune modulator candidate and, in collaboration with Ridgeback Bio, a novel oral antiviral candidate. We are also continuing to conduct SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 research and pursue broader pandemic-response capabilities. The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the need for our company and our industry to continue to invest in research to address threats to health security.

Will Merck be using its manufacturing capabilities to support the supply of COVID-19 medicines and vaccines?

In March 2021, we announced an agreement with BARDA to adapt and make available a number of the company’s manufacturing facilities for production of COVID-19 vaccines and medicines. Additionally, we announced agreements with Johnson & Johnson to support manufacturing and supply of Johnson & Johnson’s SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 vaccine.

How is Merck supporting patients who are having trouble affording their medications?

Driven by our steadfast commitment to patients, we are taking a number of new steps to support patients in the United States who may have lost their jobs and insurance coverage due to the pandemic. We will continue to ensure access to Merck medicines at no cost for eligible U.S. patients through its Merck Patient Assistance Program, created 60 years ago based on the company’s belief that no one should go without the medicines or vaccines they need. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Merck Patient Assistance Program is making a number of changes to help patients who have lost their job or cannot get into their doctor’s office during this crisis, including assessing patients’ real-time financial situations, providing assistance with expiring enrollments, and offering new options to collect signatures on enrollment forms.

To learn more about resources Merck has available for patients who need help during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, call 1-800-672-6372 or visit our information page on

Is COVID-19 impacting the supply of Merck medicines and vaccines?

While the situation remains fluid, we are not aware of any impacts from COVID-19 on the production and supply of our medicines and vaccines for the U.S. As communities around our manufacturing facilities are impacted by various social distancing measures implemented by authorities, we will assess the impact of reduced staffing levels on our supply chains.

How is COVID-19 impacting clinical trials?

Driven by our steadfast commitment to patients, we are making every effort to ensure that patients in affected areas who are enrolled in clinical trials are able to continue their treatment and receive appropriate care and monitoring.

How is Merck protecting employees and health care providers?

We have taken extensive steps to ensure that any sites that are currently open, including our plants and labs around the world, are as safe as possible for our colleagues and to provide additional support to our colleagues who are working on our sites. Our other colleagues are working remotely – and, together, we are all focused on advancing Merck’s mission to save and improve lives. We are also asking all employees to follow global health recommendations on handwashing and social distancing. And, if any of our employees is experiencing symptoms of fever, shortness of breath, we’ve asked them to stay home – this applies during this outbreak – and is a good practice at any time.

How is Merck supporting global relief efforts for COVID-19?

We are committed to supporting our health care providers and our communities. Where possible, our employees around the world are helping, including contributing volunteer services and donations to support both local and global responses. Read more about how we are supporting communities.

How can I reach the media team at Merck?

If you have an inquiry and would like to reach our media team, please email

How can investors stay up to date on COVID-19?

For investor-related FAQs, please visit investor resources.

Where can patients go for questions about Merck medicines and vaccines?

If you have questions about a Merck medication, please contact our National Service Center at or call us at 1-800-672-6372.

How can we stay up to date on COVID-19?

We know there’s a lot of information about COVID-19. We recommend visiting the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the latest information on COVID-19.