3.1)   By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births

Applying its scientific and business expertise to assist in meeting the related UN Millennium Development Goal, Merck’s Merck for Mothers initiative is helping to bring the next generation of solutions to end deaths of women from pregnancy and childbirth complications. Merck for Mothers is a 10-year, $500 million initiative to reduce maternal mortality in which Merck works in close collaboration with more than 75 implementing partners to initiate more than 50 projects in 30 countries—all built for lasting impact and contributing to our vision of a world where no woman dies giving life.  Merck for Mothers focuses on the two leading causes of death—postpartum hemorrhage and preeclampsia/eclampsia—as well as on family planning, a powerful preventive tool to save women’s lives. The program includes a portfolio of initiatives that align with three main pillars: 1) access to affordable, quality care; 2) product innovation; and 3) advocacy and awareness. 

3.2)   By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births

In 2013, Merck supported the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) in efforts to expand well-baby care during the first year of life in the U.S. Through this program, Merck, HMHB, and the National Medical Association created a 12-month guide that educates new parents and caregivers on the importance of following through on well-baby visits during the first year of life.

3.3)   By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases

In 1987, Merck founded the MECTIZAN Donation Program and announced that it would donate MECTIZAN for as long as necessary for the treatment and control of onchocerciasis (more commonly known as “river blindness”). At the inception of the program, the disease was one of the leading causes of preventable blindness worldwide, with approximately 130 million people at risk of getting the disease today. The program is a multi-sectoral partnership involving the WHO, the World Bank and UNICEF, as well as ministries of health, nongovernmental organizations and local communities is the longest-running disease-specific drug donation program and public-private partnership of its kind. With recent evidence from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicating the feasibility of eliminating the disease in Africa, the program’s strategy shifted from disease control to disease elimination, now working toward the goals established by the WHO to eliminate both lymphatic filariasis (LF) and onchocerciasis by 2020 and 2025, respectively. For more information on the MECTIZAN Donation Program, review the MDP Annual Highlights.

Merck has taken various approaches to combating HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis on local and regional levels.  The Merck Foundation has committed $36 million USD in establishing the China-MSD HIV/AIDS Partnership (C-MAP) and in Papua New Guinea, Merck is a member of the Collaboration for Health in Papua New Guinea (CHPNG), which focuses on day care centers for those with the disease while providing training and education to healthcare workers to better treat and provide necessary support. Perhaps its most sustained commitment in one country has been its work in Botswana through the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnership (ACHAP) to build the country’s HIV and tuberculosis prevention, care and treatment programs. Among many other contributions, ACHAP contributed to

  • halving the infant mortality rate, saving over 50,000 lives between 2002 and 2007;

  • dramatically reduced mother-to-child transmission and reduced new infections among children by at least 80 percent (from around 40 percent zero-conversion to less than 5 percent);

  • substantially increased laboratory and treatment capacity and coverage across the country, including through training thousands of physicians and nurses;

  • supported the development of Botswana’s First National Strategic Framework for HIV/AIDS (2003–2009) and the Second National Strategic Framework (2010–2016) as well as the country’s National Tuberculosis Strategy and TB/HIV policy guidelines;

  • supported the launch of the TB Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilization strategy which provided technical and financial support in the development of the training curriculum and in the Training of Trainees (TOTs) and other education and public awareness campaigns;

  • a reduction of the national TB case notification rate from 623 per 100,000 persons in 2002 to 331 per 100,000 persons in 2012, likely attributed to the high coverage of ART in the country and high-impact TB interventions;

  • increased data on proportion of tuberculosis patients with known HIV status, which has steadily increased from 68 percent in 2008 to 87 percent in 2012;

  • increased coverage of co-trimoxazole prophylactic therapy from 32 percent in 2008 to 90 percent in 2012 for those TB patients co-infected with HIV, and the coverage of ART from 20 percent to 65 percent during the same period of time.

Merck has collaborated with the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) to provide access to its pediatric formulations of raltegravir for use in treating HIV-1 infections in infants and children. In providing the MPP a royalty-free license for the development of pediatric formulations of the drug, Merck has improved the access to raltegravir for pediatric populations in low-and middle-income countries with high rates of pediatric HIV, totaling 92 countries. 

3.7)   By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes

Merck prices their reproductive health commodities at their lowest access prices when selling them in low- and middle- income countries. In July 2011, Merck and the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) announced a partnership to enhance access and appropriate and effective use of IMPLANON (etonogestrel implant) for qualified buyers in developing countries. Under the initiative, IMPLANON is available at Merck’s lowest access price to donor agencies and family planning members of RHSC in sub-Saharan Africa, and in all other low income countries and lower middle income countries with maternal mortality ratios of less than 200. In May 2013, Merck, along with various partners announced an agreement to expand contraceptive access and options for millions of women.  To date, three of Merck’s contraceptives have reached over 4 million women in Family Planning 2020 countries. 

3.b)   Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non-communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries, provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines, in accordance with the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, which affirms the right of developing countries to use to the full the provisions in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights regarding flexibilities to protect public health and, in particular, provide access to medicines for all

Created in 2000, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) is a global Vaccine Alliance bringing together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries. Merck, Pfizer, and Janssen Pharmaceutical of Johnson & Johnson are partners that make respective contributions of vaccines. Merck has made access to rotavirus and HPV vaccines such as ROTATEQ® and GARDASIL ® affordable in GAVI-eligible countries by making prices for such vaccines a small fraction of the price in developed countries. 

Merck has various partnerships with organizations, demonstrating its support in addressing global health issues. In 2012, Merck joined six other pharmaceutical companies, along with research institutions and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to launch the TB Drug Accelerator (TBDA) partnership, which aims to speed the discovery of new treatments for tuberculosis.  Partners have shared sections of their compound libraries and data in order to develop the best drug candidates. Merck is a partner in the International Partnership for Microbicides, granting IPM non-royalty-bearing, nonexclusive licenses to develop, manufacture, and distribute its ARV compounds for use as a vaginal microbicide to help protect women in developing countries. In its agreement with Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), Merck contributes intellectual property to conduct early development programs for drug candidate for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) treatment. Merck also collaborates with the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) which focuses on the research and development of vaccines, along with therapeutics and diagnostics for a range of diseases. To support the fight against cervical and breast cancer in sub-Saharan Africa, Merck has been a partner of the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative. 

3.c)   Substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development, training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries, especially in least developed countries and small island developing States

The Merck Foundation committed $4 million SD to the BroadReach Institute for Training and Education (BRITE) implemented its Management and Leadership Academy (MLA) program in Zambia. The MLA program helps equip healthcare professionals with the knowledge and skills to lead, own, and transform the delivery of healthcare in their own country. Since the beginning of the MLA program in Zambia in 2011, over 700 healthcare workers have been trained. Various cases have shown that the MLA has empowered health care professionals to address local issues such as high maternal mortality rates, and provided them skills to improve information management, health service delivery, and staff unity.