All Merck sales and marketing activities are conducted in accordance with our Guiding Principles for Ethical Business Practices with the Medical and Scientific Community. These principles are aligned with national regulations, worldwide industry codes, including the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices; and the World Health Organization’s Ethical Criteria for Medicinal Drug Promotion.
These principles serve as a bridge between country laws, regulations, industry guidelines, and the company’s values and standards, enabling us to interact with the medical and scientific communities, meet our ethical and legal obligations, and contribute to improvements in human health.
We provide promotional information in several ways, including:
We also provide nonpromotional information through educational and scientific activities, including:
Our interactions and content must provide truthful, balanced and non-misleading information to healthcare professionals. All our interactions with healthcare professionals are highly regulated by the government through laws such as the U.S. Anti-Kickback Statute; the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act; the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA); and anti-bribery laws in other countries.
Merck conducts anticorruption/anti-bribery e-learning and face-to-face training with all employees that engage with foreign/government officials. In many countries, healthcare professionals are government employees or are advisers to the government on matters that could affect our business.
Merck has a corporate policy and procedure, as well as training for employees, on anti-bribery, and standards for interactions with government officials, including detailed guidance that:
Merck sponsors educational programs designed to share medical and/or health economic information. Merck’s CME/CE Grant Program supports independent educational programs that we believe are most likely to improve healthcare professional performance and patient outcomes. We are committed to ensuring that our CME/CE programs are educational and not promotional. Through them, our goal is to increase physician knowledge about the latest scientific data and healthcare topics that result in improved patient care.
The environment in which we sponsor or support educational programs worldwide is complex, governed by a multitude of laws, regulations and medical or industry association guidelines. We are committed to honoring them all in the countries in which we operate.
CME programs that we support or sponsor are governed by an internal policy and also must be aligned with appropriate standards such as the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) standards for commercial support of CME in the United States. These standards specify independence, financial disclosure and other requirements applicable to CME programs sponsored by commercial entities, including pharmaceutical manufacturers. Click here for a list of grants of more than $500 made to U.S. organizations by the company’s Global Human Health Division in support of independent, accredited educational programs for healthcare professionals.
Merck delivers balanced medical and scientific information to healthcare professionals within the U.S. through its Merck Medical Forums, which are conducted by external speakers. Speakers are selected based on their expertise in the subject matter. By attending a Merck Medical Forum, healthcare professionals participate in interactive learning on relevant therapeutic and healthcare industry topics. The goal of these interactions is to help attendees achieve improved medical results for their patients.
With strict standards for conducting Merck Medical Forums, we comply with the PhRMA Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals as well as FDA regulations, which make sure that any product presentation is appropriately balanced with the product’s potential benefits and risks and is consistent with approved product labeling.
Merck discloses certain payments to U.S. medical and scientific professionals who speak on behalf of the company. For a list of these disclosures, click here.
Merck engages the service of external healthcare professionals only when we do not have the specialized talent or expertise internally, or when an external viewpoint is critical. Compensation provided to these healthcare professionals is based on fair market value of the service. Merck is confident that compensation provided to external healthcare professionals is fair and reasonable, and is aligned with fair market value of the service in the home country of the healthcare professional providing the service.
Where sampling is permitted, Merck has established country-specific guidance and policies on providing prescription product samples to healthcare professionals. This guidance specifies the appropriate distribution and use of samples to safeguard against the potential for misuse or abuse of our products, or the diversion of our products to inappropriate channels. In accordance with the law and ethical practices, we do not provide product samples to reduce or discount the price paid or reimbursed, or in exchange for prescribing, purchasing or contracting for a Merck product or for recommending a Merck product for formulary status.
In accordance with laws, regulations, internal policies and ethical practices, our professional representatives and other members of our sales and marketing team are not permitted to promote product uses that are not consistent with the approved product label, sometimes referred to as “off-label” promotion. We have policies and training in place to address violations, and we ensure that physicians are aware that we do not encourage off-label use.