Expert committees for Ethical Issues

We regularly consult two external committees of experts who give recommendations on biological and digital ethical issues. These serve as a guideline for our behavior and entrepreneurial actions.

Our Ethics Advisory Panel for Science and Technology

Looking more closely, asking questions and thinking ahead!

Ethics provides us with guidelines for how we make rapid progress in sciences and how we can use the technologies developed from this in a perfectly responsible and ethical manner. We want to create the best possible benefit for society, people and animals. It is therefore important for us to develop positions on ethical approaches, with a special focus on bioethics. In order to reliably incorporate the external view into our actions, we founded our Ethics Advisory Panel for Science and Technology (MEAP, formerly known as MBAP) in 2011. This expresses clear recommendations for bioethical issues, which serve as a guideline for our behavior and our entrepreneurial actions. An overview of our positions:

  • When using human stem cells and genome-editing methods, ethical action is always our top priority.
  • Technologies such as “CRISPR gene scissors”  have the potential to change our society for the better, but also have clear limits in their application.
  • With the aid of CRISPR, serious diseases could be treated and therapies could be developed more quickly.

Together with the MEAP experts, we have thus formulated bioethical principles for genome editing and stem cell as well as fertility research, which are binding for all our employees and partners.

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Digital Ethics

Designed to provide guidance around evolving digital business models, the Digital Ethics Advisory Panel addresses digital ethics questions for all three business sectors of our company. The panel plays a pivotal role in ensuring that we develop new digital technologies responsibly and addresses potential ethical questions arising from the usage of these technologies. The advisors on the panel are 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 expert panel is advising our company on the development of a Code of Digital Ethics, which will service as the fundamental guideline for digital ethical questions. 

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Code of Digital Ethics

Consistent with our efforts of developing and adhering to rigorous bioethical standards, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has been thinking about this topic from a strong and solid foundation, which resulted in the establishment of the CoDE.

The CoDE features 5 core principles, that will enable our different business sectors and individual employees to navigate in areas of high regulatory uncertainty by providing a clear structure for the assessment of ethical questions, such as in the context of our Digital Ethics Advisory Panel (DEAP) meetings. The CoDE not only serves as a basis for ethical risk assessment in existing ventures but is also utilized to design ethics checkpoints for nascent digital solutions throughout the company.

The CoDE has been developed by our experts from the DEAP, it can be found here in it‘s entirety – and here as a summary. As the CoDE continues to evolve and become operationalized throughout the company, more information on it’s use and effects will follow.