Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Announces Formation of Digital Ethics Advisory Panel

Designed to provide guidance around evolving digital business models, the panel will address digital ethics questions for all three business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

08 Jan 2021 | Darmstadt, Germany
  • Panel designed to provide ethical counsel to inform all business processes, supporting the evolving data-driven, digital landscape 

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, today announced the creation of its Digital Ethics Advisory Panel. Designed to provide guidance around evolving digital business models, the panel will address digital ethics questions for all three business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. The panel complements the existing Bioethics Advisory Panel of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which provides guidance on bioethical questions arising from the company’s business and research.

“We have a long history of developing and adhering to rigorous ethical standards, placing a strong importance on promoting and embedding ethical practices across every facet of the company – such as bioethical questions in our Healthcare and Life Science business sectors,” said Manfred Klevesath, Head of Global Health, Bioethics and Digital Ethics at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. “To further support our mission of operationalizing ethical guidance in our business practices, the Digital Ethics Advisory Panel will help steer our actions and ensure we take a holistic, ethical approach in our current and new digital business models.”

The Digital Ethics Advisory Panel of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, was established recently to provide external guidance and expertise on complex ethical matters around data usage, algorithms and new digital innovations. Specifically, the panel will play a pivotal role in ensuring that the company develops new digital technologies responsibly and addresses potential ethical issues arising from the use of these technologies. The panel will consist of renowned academic and industry experts in the fields of digital ethics, legal and regulatory, big data technology, digital health, medicine and data governance from the US and Europe.

The panel’s first responsibility is to develop a Digital Code of Ethics (Code) that will serve as a governing framework and guide how the panel provides counsel. The Code will define essential digital ethics principles for Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, that will serve as guidance for the company. One of the initial activities of the panel will be to provide support to Syntropy, a partnership between EMD Digital Inc., a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and the leading entity of the company’s new digital business, and Palantir Technologies Inc. Syntropy specializes in healthcare data integration and collaboration solutions to help scientists harness the true power of their data. The panel will be instrumental in furthering Syntropy’s ability to unlock the value of scientific data while ensuring patient data is used in an ethical manner.

“As a rapidly developing field, digital ethics is a new, complex territory for many,” said Sarah Becker, Founder & Managing Partner of Institute for Digital Transformation in Healthcare (idigiT), and a member of the panel. “As the landscape continues to evolve, we as an industry must be diligent about meeting rigorous ethical standards, and expert forum such as the Digital Ethics Advisory Panel of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, are key to that effort. I look forward to working on this panel as we tackle our first task of building out the Code of Digital Ethics, an important road map that will serve as a set of guidelines for operating with trust and transparency.”

The panel will complement the Bioethics Advisory Panel, which was founded in 2011 and which provides guidance on bioethical questions arising from its business and research. With the work of this panel, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has positioned itself as an industry leader in applying bioethical principles to evaluate products and services in its business sectors over the past decade. As digital business models and applications continue to arise across healthcare and other industries, the panel will provide advice specific to the rapidly developing field of digital ethics, thereby complementing the MBAP’s area of expertise.

Please see here for more information on both panels of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, the Digital Ethics Advisory Panel as well as on the Bioethics Advisory Panel.

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For more information, please contact Gangolf Schrimpf

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About Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 57,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2019, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, generated sales of € 16.2 billion in 66 countries.

The company holds the global rights to the name and trademark “Merck” internationally. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Performance Materials. Since its founding 1668, scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to the company’s technological and scientific advances. To this day, the founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. 

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