Merck & CO., Inc., one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, produces many essential products, including vaccines and HIV/AIDS medications. The company also invests a significant amount of time and research in an effort to distribute their products to populations in need throughout the world. Merck has come to embrace the model of corporate social responsibility and has produced significant results. News of its outreach efforts is available in Merck’s CSR report. According to Merck’s corporate responsibility site, their priorities lie in the following categories:
- Conducting business with high ethical standards
- Engaging in activities to expand access to quality health care around the world
- Making a positive and sustainable impact on the communities and societies where employees live and work
- Meeting the needs of its employees in a fair and just manner
For example, in the U.S., Merck has responded to the economic crisis by expanding its Patient Assistance Program. By doubling the minimum qualifying salary of individuals and households who qualify for free medicines, Merck hopes to insure that families who may be out of work or struggling to pay bills still have access to important medications. But its reach goes far beyond the immediate situation.
Conducting Business Ethically
Merck has an extensive employee Ethics Training course that is meant to encourage adherence to strict standards in every area of their business:
- Sales and Marketing
- Clinical trials
- Product Quality and Safety
Merck also recently signed the United Nations Global Compact, which supports global principles of human and environmental rights, as well as anti-corruption measures.
Expanding Access to Healthcare Around the World
Merck has a three-pronged approach to improving access to their medicines worldwide:
1. Researching new medicines and vaccines for major diseases and illnesses
2. Developing business models to improve access to medicines in developing nations
3. Working with governments and NGOs to deliver medications to areas where they are needed most, especially in the developing world
In fact, since 2003 Merck’s Vaccine Network in Africa has worked to provide basic vaccines to millions of children across the continent.
Making a Positive and Sustainable Impact
The U.S. EPA recently recognized Merck’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact by awarding Merck the 2009 Energy Star Sustained Excellence Award for continued efforts to protect the environment. Merck’s environmental efforts include:
- Reducing its energy usage by unit of area by 30 percent from the 2004 baseline
- Reducing its water usage by more that 25 percent, compared to 2004 levels
- Reducing the amount of solid waste sent to landfills to less than 4 percent by recycling, incinerating for fuel or selling its hazardous waste products.
Pursuing Both a Corporate and Environmental Bottom Line
According to Merck, the best way to take care of its employees and shareholders is to follow ethically and environmentally responsible models of research and development. As its site explains, “Acting in a responsible manner over the long term serves the best interests of the people our programs benefit, as well as our shareholders.”