We work with local communities, governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), multilateral organizations and corporations to address specific health and development challenges that go well beyond what Merck can directly accomplish alone.
Merck has decades of experience in developing PPPs in various areas. In 1987, with many partners, we launched the Merck MECTIZAN® (ivermectin) Donation Program (MDP), the first large-scale, comprehensive global health initiative of its kind. The MDP provides the drug MECTIZAN to treat onchocerciasis (river blindness) in countries where the disease is endemic and to prevent lymphatic filariasis in African countries where it coexists with onchocerciasis. Today, the MDP is recognized as one of the world’s most successful global healthcare collaborations, and one that continues to have significant positive impact on tens of millions of people.
Merck does not believe, however, that donating medicines and vaccines alone is a sustainable long-term solution to the global challenge of access to medicines. But we recognize that millions of patients need medicines now and cannot wait for better solutions that would make them more widely available. For that reason, Merck remains committed to donating our products through the Merck Medical Outreach Program, as we have done for more than 50 years, and through U.S.-based Patient Assistance Program (PAP).
Merck also provides our products free of charge to researchers for responsible clinical initiatives that will help improve the knowledge base about our products and global health in general. For example, in 2009 Merck completed clinical trials of the PATH Rotavirus Vaccine Program to study the safety and efficacy of ROTATEQ® (Rotavirus Vaccine, Live, Oral, Pentavalent) in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Ghana, Kenya and Mali. Trials at all sites in Africa and Asia involved more than 7,500 infants and were published in the August 2010 issue of The Lancet. The results of these studies support expanded WHO recommendations to promote global use of ROTATEQ.
Merck has applied our experience in global health partnerships to programs around the world that are helping to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, other chronic conditions and vaccine-preventable illnesses. While many involve financial or in-kind support, Merck also seeks to leverage the expertise and the skills of our employees in order to contribute in additional meaningful ways.
For example, Merck is actively pursuing programs that we have and will continue to demonstrate the feasibility of large-scale immunization and the positive impacts of vaccine introduction in developing countries. Learn more about our work in the area of vaccines.
We work closely with our partners on the ground to formulate specific goals and metrics for the partnerships in which we are involved. For example, the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships (ACHAP) sets targets that are reviewed annually by the ACHAP Board, on which two Merck representatives sit.
We also have rigorous governance and oversight mechanisms in place for all of our programs and partnerships. And we require all of our grantees to submit regular (usually annual) reports outlining how Merck funds or medicines were used and what was accomplished. For some of our larger initiatives, including the MDP and ACHAP, we have commissioned third-party evaluations on program effectiveness.