Global Health

Roughly 1.3 billion people currently lack access to effective and affordable healthcare. We have made it our top priority to improve their situation.

Our goal: Access to Health

As the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company, we are committed to improve Access to Health (A2H) on a global scale: by making use of our core competencies, expertise and experience across the health value chain. We want to be a valued partner in addressing the worldwide health needs of under-served populations and communities. In tackling access barriers in developing countries, we uphold our core values of quality, collaboration, accountability, transparency and respect for human rights.

We are aware that access to health is a complex challenge with many facets and no one-size-fits-all solution. That’s why our programs and initiatives are tailored to global, regional and local needs, taking a holistic approach and working in partnerships. As our A2H work is a key element of our Corporate Responsibility strategy, it cuts across different areas of our business.

Have a look at what we do across the globe to improve access to health here.    

Four tasks, one goal

We call our approach the ‘Four As of Access’. Each of the four As stands for a specific task we have set ourselves with the ultimate goal to improve access to health everywhere and for everyone:

  • Availability – research and develop health solutions
  • Affordability – assist those unable to pay for health solutions
  • Accessibility – strengthen supply chains and develop localized solutions
  • Awareness – empower with tools, knowledge, information and skills

We support a number of different initiatives worldwide to reach our goal of providing better access to health. See a selection of these in the media gallery below.

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Our efforts have made a difference

That’s why we have been ranked 4th in the 2018 Access to Medicine (ATM) Index, one of the three most credible sustainability ratings worldwide.
Every two years, the Access to Medicine Foundation benchmarks the top pharmaceutical companies according to their efforts to advance global access to medicines. We have maintained our position among the top 5 and this reflects once again our continuous commitment to improving sustainable access to high-quality solutions for all communities, regardless of their location or ability to pay.

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Access to Health is a strategic priority for us and we are pleased that our efforts have been recognized. We have made outstanding progress over the last five years and we remain committed to delivering sustainable healthcare solutions to the 1.3 billion people worldwide who still lack access to effective and affordable healthcare.

Belén Garijo

Vice Chair of the Executive Board,

Deputy CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany & CEO Healthcare

Combatting fake medicines: Patient safety first

Our medicines and pharmaceutical products meet the highest standards when it comes to safety, environmental sustainability and ethical practices. We take numerous steps to ensure this ethos. But our sense of responsibility extends far beyond our own products - we also aspire to help solve global issues by contributing our expertise. Take for instance the fight against counterfeit pharmaceuticals in developing and emerging countries. According to Interpol estimates, up to 30% of all medicines in these regions are counterfeit or substandard. This puts the lives of thousands of patients at risk. In an effort to identify counterfeits quickly and easily, the Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF), a non-profit initiative funded by our company, has developed the GPHF Minilab™.

The GPHF has specifically developed the Minilab for use in regions with simple infrastructure. This compact, portable lab fits into a tropics-resistant suitcase and enables counterfeit medicines to be detected quickly, easily and inexpensively. The tests do not rely on external power sources and require only ordinary drinking water. There is currently no other product like it.

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Tackling global challenges

Global Health in times of Covid-19

According to the World Health Organization, at least half of the world’s population does not have access to essential health care. In times of Covid-19, the most vulnerable countries will be worst affected.

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Eliminating the tropical disease schistosomiasis is a key goal of our efforts to provide access to health. Together with our partners we are committed to achieve this as soon as possible.

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We work to increase health awareness through education campaigns and by providing vocational training and continuing education for healthcare professionals.

Read more in our CR report

Through our Global Health Institute, we want to improve the health of underserved populations in the developing world. Fighting infectious diseases such as schistosomiasis and malaria is at the top of our agenda.

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The Healthy Women, Healthy Economies initiative strives to unleash the economic power of women by bringing governments, employers and other interested stakeholders together to help to help to improve women’s health so women - and by extension their families - can join, thrive, rise in their communities and live better lives.

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We want to help shed light on the choices and challenges facing families in Asia. Whether it’s countries with rapidly aging populations, or those that have yet to consider the impacts of low birth rates, we aim to help our partners better understand the trends and options – from demographics and childbearing choices, to family-related policy decisions.

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Access to Health

Many people in low- to middle-income countries lack access to high-quality health solutions. We leverage our expertise and collaborate with strong partners to develop solutions for patients in developing healthcare systems.

Partnering for change

We cannot do it alone. That's why we engage and participate with dialogue and partnerships across the global health spectrum, and work with all stakeholders to deliver sustainable global health outcomes.

Our partners

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World Health Organization (WHO)
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World Health Organization (WHO)

The main role of the WHO is to direct and coordinate international health within the United Nations system. The WHO supports countries as they coordinate the efforts of multiple sectors of government and partners to attain their health objectives and support their national health policies and strate

World Intellectual Property Organization
World Intellectual Property Organization

We are a member of WIPO Re:Search, an open innovation platform sponsored by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in collaboration with Bio Ventures for Global Health (BVGH). The platform is used to accelerate early discovery for infectious diseases.

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Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)
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Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)

We are a member of the Gates CEO Roundtable (CEORT) for Global Health. This is comprised of leaders of the pharmaceutical, biotech and diagnostic industries, whose companies address technical, medical and process issues through innovation.

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Business for Social Responsibility
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Business for Social Responsibility

Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) works with businesses to create a fair and sustainable world. We are a signatory to the BSR Guiding Principles on Access to Healthcare (GPAH). The principles demonstrate the commitment of industry partners for stronger collaboration.

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Access to Medicine Foundation
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Access to Medicine Foundation

The Access to Medicine Foundation is a non-profit organization that independently ranks pharmaceutical companies. It's mission is to stimulate them to do more for people living in low- and middle-income countries. It is funded by the Dutch and UK governments and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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London Declaration
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London Declaration

The London Declaration is an innovative, multi-stakeholder partnership comprised of pharmaceutical companies, donor groups, implementing partners, national NTD programs and other supportive partners committed to attaining the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2020 goals.


International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) is a global, non-profit, non-governmental organization which represents the research-based pharmaceutical industry. IFPMA aims to improve global health by representing members in dialogue.

Efpia Logo Efpia Logo

The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) represents the pharmaceutical industry operating in Europe. EFPIA is committed to researching and developing new medicines and delivering them to patients, in order to improve health and quality of life around the world.

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Global Schistosomiasis Alliance (GSA)
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Global Schistosomiasis Alliance (GSA)

We are founding member of the Global Schistosomiasis Alliance (GSA) initiated in 2014. The GSA is working to promote and support an international action plan to progress schistosomiasis control and eventually achieve elimination of the disease.


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