Innovation

Humans, animals and the environment – our health is all connected

Why the One Health approach is important now more than ever

April 15, 2024

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The health of humans, animals and the environment are all interconnected. When the health of one is at risk, the health of all may be at risk.   

We see it in diseases transferred between animals or insects and humans (called zoonotic and vector-borne diseases) such as rabies, Lyme disease, West Nile virus, swine flu and Ebola, among others. We also see it in the growing threat from antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which occurs when bacteria mutate in ways that make the medicines (antimicrobials) used to treat infections ineffective, or when these medicines are used inappropriately to treat viral infections. Or, in diseases in food-producing animals, jeopardizing global food security.

Our increasing vulnerability to such new health challenges has led to a focus on “One Health” — an integrated approach to addressing human, animal and environmental health for the benefit of all.

What is One Health?

One Health is the collaborative approach across multiple disciplines — working locally, regionally, nationally and globally — to prevent, detect and respond to health issues at the interfaces between humans, animals and the environment.

illustration of group of people

It requires collaboration among doctors, veterinarians, nurses, public health practitioners, epidemiologists, agricultural workers, ecologists, wildlife experts, and industry as well as policymakers, communities and even pet owners.

“No one person, organization or sector can address these issues alone. Identifying and responding to growing health challenges requires teamwork,” says Holger Lehmann, DVM, Ph.D., VP, pharmaceuticals research and development, MSD Animal Health.

But what has led to these increasing population health threats?

Why are we more vulnerable to new health challenges?

Society has undergone major changes over the past century. While technology, increased mobility, industrialization, urbanization and globalization have advanced human, animal and environmental health in many ways, they’ve also made us more vulnerable to new health challenges.

For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year, millions of people and animals around the world are affected by zoonotic diseases. Scientists estimate that around 60% of emerging infectious diseases that are reported globally come from animals, both wild and domestic. Over 30 new human pathogens have been detected in the last 3 decades, 75% of which have originated in animals.

They can be spread in a number of ways, including direct or indirect contact, vector-borne, foodborne or waterborne. In fact, foodborne pathogens cause millions of cases of sporadic illness and chronic complications, as well as large and challenging outbreaks in many countries and between countries.

In addition, increased exposure to new viruses/bacteria combined with excessive and/or inappropriate use of medicines is causing a rise in AMR. Worldwide, an estimated 4.95 million people died with drug-resistant bacterial infections in 2019, and 1.27 million of these deaths were directly caused by antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Three main factors are fueling these population health threats, increasing the probability and speed of spreading diseases. They are:

Changes in climate and land use

Deforestation and other disruptions in environmental conditions can provide new opportunities for diseases to develop.

Exponential population growth and expansion into previously uninhabited areas

More people are living in close connection to their companion animals, and in some cases, closer to wild and domestic animals.

Increased international mobility

People, animals and animal products are moving more frequently, easily and widely than ever before.

Our commitment to One Health

With deep expertise in both human and animal health and a commitment to our shared environment, our company is well-positioned to be a leader in the One Health approach.

“We recognize the issues — such as zoonotic and infectious diseases and food safety and security — are interrelated,” says Ian Tarpey, Ph.D., VP, biological research and development, MSD Animal Health. “Our Animal Health and Human Health teams will continue to collaborate to discover and develop preventative solutions for existing and emerging diseases in animals and people.”

Our One Health approach focuses on many areas, including:

icon
Disease prevention

We remain focused on discovering and developing vaccines and technologies to help prevent both human and animal diseases.

icon
Surveillance and monitoring

We’re committed to advocating for and participating in scientifically based surveillance monitoring systems to better understand, track and predict health-related issues.

icon
Respecting our environment

We support science-based, environmentally sound international and national programs to address the challenges to environmental health.

icon
Innovation

Our human and animal health research laboratories collaborate in antimicrobial and vaccine research in many ways including sharing enabling technologies, expertise and evaluation of external opportunities. We’re also investing and developing predictive, monitoring and diagnostic technologies to help animal caretakers make data-driven evaluations of an animal’s health status and optimize their animals’ health and well-being.

icon
Stewardship of essential medicines

We’re playing a leading role in addressing AMR by not only discovering and developing medicines and vaccines to treat and prevent infectious diseases in humans and animals but also supporting responsible use of these products.

icon
Safe and sustainable food supply

We continue to work on developing vaccines and other tools to prevent animal disease to ensure a safe, nutritious, sustainable food supply, and we’ve implemented surveillance initiatives to enable more accurate risk profiling, early disease detection and individualized diagnosis/treatment decisions in livestock.

Corgis running in field

The science of healthier animals

We build strong partnerships in an effort to improve the health of animals around the world, and approach our work with a deep sense of responsibility — to our customers, consumers, animals, society and the planet.

Our work to promote optimal health continues

“One Health recognizes the interconnectedness of human, animal and environmental health, acknowledging that the well-being of each is intricately linked. By embracing a collaborative approach, we can effectively address the complex challenges and promote optimal health for both humans and animals.”

– Dr. Jenelle Krishnamoorthy, VP, global public policy

Humans, animals and the environment – our health is all connected

Why the One Health approach is important now more than ever

April 15, 2024

Share this article

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article hero thumbnail

Our increasing vulnerability to such new health challenges has led to a focus on “One Health” — an integrated approach to addressing human, animal and environmental health for the benefit of all.

What is One Health?

One Health is the collaborative approach across multiple disciplines — working locally, regionally, nationally and globally — to prevent, detect and respond to health issues at the interfaces between humans, animals and the environment.

illustration of group of people

It requires collaboration among doctors, veterinarians, nurses, public health practitioners, epidemiologists, agricultural workers, ecologists, wildlife experts, and industry as well as policymakers, communities and even pet owners.

“No one person, organization or sector can address these issues alone. Identifying and responding to growing health challenges requires teamwork,” says Holger Lehmann, DVM, Ph.D., VP, pharmaceuticals research and development, MSD Animal Health.

But what has led to these increasing population health threats?

Why are we more vulnerable to new health challenges?

Society has undergone major changes over the past century. While technology, increased mobility, industrialization, urbanization and globalization have advanced human, animal and environmental health in many ways, they’ve also made us more vulnerable to new health challenges.

For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year, millions of people and animals around the world are affected by zoonotic diseases. Scientists estimate that around 60% of emerging infectious diseases that are reported globally come from animals, both wild and domestic. Over 30 new human pathogens have been detected in the last 3 decades, 75% of which have originated in animals.

They can be spread in a number of ways, including direct or indirect contact, vector-borne, foodborne or waterborne. In fact, foodborne pathogens cause millions of cases of sporadic illness and chronic complications, as well as large and challenging outbreaks in many countries and between countries.

In addition, increased exposure to new viruses/bacteria combined with excessive and/or inappropriate use of medicines is causing a rise in AMR. Worldwide, an estimated 4.95 million people died with drug-resistant bacterial infections in 2019, and 1.27 million of these deaths were directly caused by antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Three main factors are fueling these population health threats, increasing the probability and speed of spreading diseases. They are:

dry farmland

Changes in climate and land use

Deforestation and other disruptions in environmental conditions can provide new opportunities for diseases to develop.

Exponential population growth and expansion into previously uninhabited areas

More people are living in close connection to their companion animals, and in some cases, closer to wild and domestic animals.

Increased international mobility

People, animals and animal products are moving more frequently, easily and widely than ever before.

Our commitment to One Health

With deep expertise in both human and animal health and a commitment to our shared environment, our company is well-positioned to be a leader in the One Health approach.

“We recognize the issues — such as zoonotic and infectious diseases and food safety and security — are interrelated,” says Ian Tarpey, Ph.D., VP, biological research and development, MSD Animal Health. “Our Animal Health and Human Health teams will continue to collaborate to discover and develop preventative solutions for existing and emerging diseases in animals and people.”

Our One Health approach focuses on many areas, including:

icon
Disease prevention

We remain focused on discovering and developing vaccines and technologies to help prevent both human and animal diseases.

icon
Surveillance and monitoring

We’re committed to advocating for and participating in scientifically based surveillance monitoring systems to better understand, track and predict health-related issues.

icon
Respecting our environment

We support science-based, environmentally sound international and national programs to address the challenges to environmental health.

icon
Innovation

Our human and animal health research laboratories collaborate in antimicrobial and vaccine research in many ways including sharing enabling technologies, expertise and evaluation of external opportunities. We’re also investing and developing predictive, monitoring and diagnostic technologies to help animal caretakers make data-driven evaluations of an animal’s health status and optimize their animals’ health and well-being.

icon
Stewardship of essential medicines

We’re playing a leading role in addressing AMR by not only discovering and developing medicines and vaccines to treat and prevent infectious diseases in humans and animals but also supporting responsible use of these products.

icon
Safe and sustainable food supply

We continue to work on developing vaccines and other tools to prevent animal disease to ensure a safe, nutritious, sustainable food supply, and we’ve implemented surveillance initiatives to enable more accurate risk profiling, early disease detection and individualized diagnosis/treatment decisions in livestock.

The science of healthier animals

We build strong partnerships in an effort to improve the health of animals around the world, and approach our work with a deep sense of responsibility — to our customers, consumers, animals, society and the planet.

Our work to promote optimal health continues

“One Health recognizes the interconnectedness of human, animal and environmental health, acknowledging that the well-being of each is intricately linked. By embracing a collaborative approach, we can effectively address the complex challenges and promote optimal health for both humans and animals.”

– Dr. Jenelle Krishnamoorthy, VP, global public policy

Innovation

Taking on Zaire ebolavirus

How science and innovation fuel our efforts to help combat a rare but potentially deadly disease

April 11, 2024

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Patients inspire us to pursue the best science in our inventions and everything we do. Every innovation has the potential to help build a healthier, more hopeful future for people everywhere — which means taking on some of today’s global health challenges, including Ebola.

Leading the effort to combat Zaire ebolavirus

Our company is a health care leader in the fight against Zaire ebolavirus. Along with external collaborators from all sectors, our scientists are at the forefront of the response to outbreaks of this potentially deadly disease as we continue to help address this global health challenge. Zaire ebolavirus has had a devastating impact on the world and has proved itself to be a potentially deadly and contagious disease, with a survival rate of 50%. While there are six identified Ebola virus species, the Zaire ebolavirus strain has been the leading cause of outbreaks over the last 20 years.

Global public health preparedness against future Zaire ebolavirus outbreaks requires advanced planning, system readiness for rapid deployment and collaboration and partnership between public and private entities around the world. Our partnerships with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other health partners around the globe are a crucial component of our commitment to helping save and improve lives.

“We take Zaire ebolavirus outbreaks very seriously and act with the utmost urgency to support response efforts,” said Rachael Bonawitz, clinical director, clinical research vaccines. “Our teams are dedicated to supporting the frontline workers whose brave actions are critical in outbreak response efforts.”

In 2021, we established an agreement with UNICEF to create the world’s first global Ebola Zaire stockpile, the result of breakthrough innovation and collaboration with four leading international health and humanitarian organizations across the world. The global stockpile offers a critical, rapid-response tool.

“It has been our honor to collaborate with WHO, Gavi, UNICEF, the U.S. government and many others in supporting outbreak preparedness and response efforts,” said Drew Otoo, president of global vaccines. “Through these collaborations, we demonstrate what’s possible when partners come together to pursue a common purpose for patients.”

This level of collaboration continues to be needed for Zaire ebolavirus and other diseases. We remain committed to working in collaboration with global and local health partners to support current and future outbreak response efforts.

Our people

How employees with careers in nursing are critical at MSD

Nurses' clinical expertise and patient experience provide valuable insight across our company

April 10, 2024

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Nurses do vital work every day. The care they provide makes a profound difference in the lives of patients and their families. And that’s why employees with careers in nursing are critical at MSD.

Esther Smith-Howell, associate director, outcomes research, said her nursing background provides her with valuable experience she applies as a business scientist.

“I understand patients’ concerns and questions related to medications and care, their need for education and information, the social context that may affect their ability to access and pay for medications and care,” said Smith-Howell. “It helps me think holistically about research and patients.”

article quote image

"Integrating the patient perspective into solving scientific research problems is critical for successful patient outcomes."

— Esther Smith-Howell, Ph.D., MSHP, R.N.

Associate director, outcomes research, health care delivery research

A sincere desire to help patients

From product safety and labeling to marketing, clinical operations and medical affairs, we employ hundreds of registered nurses in non-clinical positions.

“Nurses are a valuable resource to our company in terms of their real-world patient experience, clinical expertise and talent,” said Mary Elmer, executive director, patient innovation & engagement, and a nurse herself. “They bring important perspectives to help inform our business.”

article quote image

"Nurses share a special bond. There's true camaraderie between us fueled by a sincere desire to help patients."

Mary Elmer, MSN, CRNP

Executive director, patient innovation & engagement

Steve Morin’s varied nursing experiences working directly with patients help inform his current role as director of regulatory policy. He’s served as a bone marrow transplant nurse in a hospital and a research nurse in clinical trials and held other nursing roles where he worked with a number of underserved populations from around the world.

“These experiences allowed me to see health from a global perspective, and I use that background now as I advocate for regulatory policies that will help improve patient outcomes.”

  • Steve Morin, MSHE, BSN
    Director, regulatory policy
Steve Morin

Nurses at MSD are critical to our work

The nurses’ diverse backgrounds and skillsets — surgical, oncology, primary care, pediatrics, among others — also allow for valuable insight overall and targeted support when needed in a specific area of focus.

Here are four ways employees use their nursing expertise to make clinical and non-clinical impact:

Drug delivery development

Providing input on early design models for our product teams to create user-friendly devices as well as easy-to-understand accompanying patient education materials.

Package design

Supporting human factor testing, which focuses on the interactions between people and the product, by providing perspective on the end-user experience of patients and the health care professionals who give our products to patients.

Communications materials

Providing personal and professional perspectives, including how patients and their families digest health information, cultural sensitivities, and other insights, so we deliver health literate information that is clear for people who use our products.

Clinical support

Mobilizing teams of nurses to assist our U.S. employee health department, including stepping away from their non-clinical day jobs to provide critical support and help prevent disruption in business activities.

Our colleagues share their thoughts on being nurses at MSD:

Emma Mason
Meet Emma Mason

Associate director, patient innovation and engagement

Jo Goldie
Meet Jo Goldie

Associate director, scientific engagement lead GU oncology

Meet Susanne Rodholm

Clinical operations manager, global clinical trial operations

Kathy McKeon
Meet Kathy McKeon

Senior corporate account executive

Dr. Lisa Lea
Meet Dr. Lisa Lea

Director, patient innovation and engagement

Cynthia Thompson
Meet Cynthia Thompson

Oncology sales representative, women’s health

Innovation

How MSD scientists are driving next-generation cancer research

Our scientists are accelerating research by looking to improve anti-tumor immune response, targeting specific cancer cells and helping inhibit cancer growth

April 4, 2024

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In recent decades, our improved understanding of cancer has illuminated that we cannot treat all cancers as one disease — scientists have classified hundreds of types and found a myriad of genetic drivers underlying them. This means, just as cancer isn’t one disease, there cannot be just one way to treat all cancers.

“We’ve witnessed dramatic progress in how we treat a wide range of cancers, and our work at MSD has been foundational in how we treat metastatic disease, or cancer that has spread.”

  • Dr. Jane Healy
    Vice president and head of oncology early development, MSD Research Laboratories

“This is just the tip of the iceberg. These advancements are helping to fuel the next generation of discoveries and drive progress in the way we care for people with all stages of cancer. We must push research forward that supports early discoveries and novel innovations to advance the future of cancer research,” Healy said.

Driving research toward treating certain cancers earlier

With the ultimate goal of providing patients with the greatest chance for survival, our researchers are building a broad clinical development program focused on treating certain cancers at earlier stages.

“Expanding our research efforts into earlier stages of disease remains a top priority,” said Healy. “We’re pursuing research where we have the greatest potential to make a significant impact in helping reduce the risk of recurrence and improving survival.”

A robust pipeline of diverse approaches to advanced and earlier stages of cancer

In addition to driving research in earlier stages of cancer, Healy and her colleagues are investigating multiple mechanisms and modalities that may have the potential to address cancer in innovative ways. Through our own research and external collaborations, we’ve developed a robust pipeline that encompasses diverse approaches to treating advanced and earlier stages of cancer across more than 20 novel mechanisms, including:

  • Boosting anti-tumor immune responses: Learnings from recent advancements in cancer care have informed a more focused approach to research. Now, we’re investigating foundational cancer treatments combined with negative immune regulators that play different roles in adjusting the immune response.

    We’re also exploring individualized neoantigen therapies, a growing area of research focused on sharpening the immune response against a person’s own tumor by developing a therapy unique to their tumor’s mutation.
  • Tissue-specific targeting of chemotherapy to increase cancer cell sensitivity to immune responses: While chemotherapy remains an important treatment option, our scientists are exploring how antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), with novel chemotherapy-like payloads, can be used as a more targeted approach to deliver chemotherapy.

    Similarly, we’re pursuing research that enhances the ability of T cells to recognize and attack tumors.
  • Impacting pathways that can drive cancer growth: We’ve identified opportunities for the direct targeting of cancer cell vulnerabilities and transcription factors that were previously considered untreatable. By designing therapeutic candidates that inhibit or degrade proteins and genes implicated in cancer pathways, we’re evaluating new ways to help address rare and difficult-to-treat cancers that currently have limited treatment options.

“We’re committed to investing in novel research where scientific opportunity and medical need converge.”

  • Dr. David Weinstock
    Vice president of discovery oncology, MSD Research Laboratories

“These key areas of research are the cornerstones of our broad and diverse pipeline, with more than 2,250 ongoing clinical trials, which include more than 1,600 trials evaluating combination regimens. We remain dedicated to discovering new ways to fight this disease and optimizing existing approaches — all while continuing to lead in supporting the next generation of cancer research,” said Weinstock.

Learn more about our oncology pipeline

Innovation

In our commitment to R&D, the numbers speak for themselves

We follow the science where we can make the greatest difference

March 7, 2024

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Our scientists are revolutionizing how we discover and develop medicines and vaccines to address unmet medical needs, focused on innovating in oncology, vaccines, infectious diseases, cardio-metabolic disorders, immunology and neuroscience. 

With a science-led but portfolio-driven approach to our pipeline, we’re harnessing new technologies to accelerate the drug discovery process as we use the power of leading-edge science to save and improve the lives of humans and animals around the world. And, we’re continuing to invest in research and discovery efforts, like breaking new ground in London and uniting research and manufacturing to help patients faster in Ireland.

Here’s a look at how we got there:

2023 by the numbers

$30.5 billion

Our research and development investment

21,800

Employees driving our research activities

1,400+

Publications by our scientists in peer-reviewed journals

100,000+

Patients enrolled in our clinical trials at more than 21,000+ sites worldwide

50+

Countries around the world where we are conducting clinical trials

330+

Late-stage clinical trials around the world

2

New major acquisitions to broaden our reach

 

76

Significant business development deals to enhance our pipeline

Woman MSD scientists in a lab
Our pipeline

We’re dedicated to translating breakthrough research into life-changing medicines and vaccines.

man and woman MSD scientists
Careers

Are you interested in a career in R&D? Join us to help address some of the world's most difficult challenges.

Health awareness

How we can strengthen vaccination programs and build vaccine confidence together

Two MSD leaders share how we’re working to help protect communities from vaccine-preventable illnesses

February 21, 2024

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Vaccines are one of the most significant public health achievements in modern history, playing a vital role in helping to prevent certain infectious diseases and protect communities across the globe.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic brought forth a new set of challenges in sustaining vaccination efforts for other preventable diseases — highlighting existing disparities and inequalities in access to health care and underscoring the urgent need for action.

In two op-eds for Devex, an independent news organization covering global development, Drew Otoo, Pharm.D., president of global vaccines, and Alfred Saah, M.D., executive director of scientific affairs, highlighted some of the ways we’re working to address these challenges at the global, national and local levels.

Collaborating to help increase health equity

Otoo said collaboration across sectors is key to building trust, enabling equity and establishing stronger, more resilient vaccination programs.

“Now more than ever, we have an opportunity to evaluate and strengthen our approach… Together, we can help create a more equitable future where vaccines are available to and accepted by all who can benefit from them.”

  • Drew Otoo, Pharm.D.
    President of global vaccines, MSD

Otoo shared examples of our work with local and global stakeholders to develop tailored approaches to improve vaccine confidence and supply vaccines for communities that might otherwise be without them:

  • Local organizations and community leaders have a deep understanding of the issues contributing to inequities and low routine vaccination rates in their communities, and they’re essential to identifying and executing solutions. We know this to be the case from our efforts through ImmUNITY Chicago, an initiative we helped catalyze with local stakeholders to address lower vaccination rates among neighborhoods in the Southwest Side of Chicago, predominantly among communities of color.
  • Strategic global collaborations are also critical to enabling stronger, more sustainable vaccination programs. We work with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance — a global alliance that has helped to vaccinate nearly half of the world’s children in low-income countries.

Combating vaccine hesitancy and building trust

Saah emphasized our commitment to addressing vaccine hesitancy (the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines) and building confidence at local, national and global levels.

“By understanding the knowledge gaps and prioritizing strategies that strengthen how we communicate…we can potentially combat vaccine hesitancy, improve vaccine confidence and make a difference in global public health.”

  • Alfred Saah, M.D.
    Executive director of scientific affairs, MSD

Despite the well-documented benefits of vaccines, hesitancy is a longstanding public health issue that can result in under-vaccination and global disease outbreaks. The reasons behind vaccine hesitancy are often connected to the 3Cs Model, defined by a World Health Organization strategic advisory group:

  • Complacency: The perception that vaccine-preventable diseases pose little risk to individuals.
  • Convenience: The degree to which vaccination services are accessible.
  • Confidence: The degree to which an individual believes vaccines work, are safe and effective and are part of a trustworthy public health and medical system.

Saah shared some of our efforts to improve vaccine confidence, which include:

  • Working with collaborators to reach the global population and engage communities through mediums that resonate, such as social media, and through messages that can be delivered by trusted community members.
  • Building capabilities for our colleagues in local markets to better understand the strengths and vulnerabilities of vaccination programs on a global and national scale.

Continuing our work to improve vaccine access

Despite the challenges ahead, both Saah and Otoo are optimistic about the future.

“Combating vaccine hesitancy is not an easy feat and has been a challenge our global society has faced for centuries,” wrote Saah. “However, these challenges bring new opportunities to improve our approach and be better advocates for ourselves, our families and our communities.”

“By going where the need exists and continuing to invest in innovative, strategic and diverse collaborations, I'm confident we'll find new ways to solve complex public health problems.”

— Drew Otoo

Learn more about how collaborations can help yield stronger vaccination programs.

Sustainability

Inspiring innovation through diversity and inclusion

When we bring together people from different backgrounds, the possibilities for invention are endless

February 1, 2024

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A diverse and inclusive workforce inspires innovation and is fundamental to our company’s success. Having an environment composed of people from different dimensions of diversity also helps us better understand the unique needs of the customers, health care providers and patients we serve.

Below are some of the ways we celebrate our diverse workforce and a culture of equity, empowerment, engagement and belonging:

01.

Supporting a disability-confident workforce

At our company, everyone should feel empowered to help deliver on our purpose of using the power of leading-edge science to save and improve lives around the world. This includes our colleagues who live with disabilities.

Our Global Disability Inclusion Strategy Council recognizes and values the importance of a disability-confident workforce and offers resources to ensure people with disabilities — including physical, neurological, mental, rare or any other forms of disabilities — are included and prepared to succeed in all areas of our business.

Mike Klobuchar

“My hope is for our company to be an example of what’s possible.”

  • Michael Klobuchar
    Executive vice president and chief strategy officer, and executive sponsor of the Global Disability Inclusion Strategy Council

Key programs and partnerships include:

  • CapABILITY in Action, a joint program launched with Accenture and run in partnership with workforce solutions company Rangam to attract, recruit and retain neurodivergent talent.
  • Valuable 500, a global partnership of 500 companies committed to accelerating disability inclusion through best practices such as digitally accessible technology, mental health awareness and more.

02.

Economic inclusion and business diversity

We’ve been championing business diversity and underrepresented entrepreneurs for nearly 40 years, recognizing that a diverse supply chain creates a competitive advantage for our company and positively impacts the global community.

We continue to exceed industry best practices by spending more than 10% of our purchase budget with minority-, women-, veteran-, LGBTQ+-, disability-owned and small business enterprises. And we’re continuing to push ourselves to do more: As a member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, we’ve made a long-term commitment to spend $4.4 billion with diverse suppliers and small businesses by 2030.

“We’re thinking broader and bolder, and we’ll continue enriching a global diverse business community, reaffirming our commitment to creating healthy and equitable outcomes for our business, patients and communities.”

  • Susanna Webber
    Senior vice president and chief procurement officer

03.

Celebrating global diversity and inclusion

Since 2015, we’ve celebrated Global Diversity & Inclusion Experience Month in September to foster meaningful discussions and learning around diversity, equity and inclusion, while highlighting diversity and inclusion–focused work and the people who make our company unique.

This monthlong celebration builds diversity and inclusion capabilities among the workforce and creates a platform for employees to speak up about their experiences.

Celeste Warren

“We’ve strengthened our commitment to making diversity and inclusion a central strategy to business growth.”

  • Celeste Warren
    Vice president, diversity & inclusion center of excellence

04.

Employee business resource groups (EBRGs)

With more than 21,500 members across 10 groups, our EBRGs play a critical role in driving an inclusive culture and supporting employee career growth. They represent diversity within our company and reflect the communities in which we live and serve.

“I’m proud of our long-standing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”

  • Marcos Roberto da Costa
    Vice president, operational excellence, MMD, and executive sponsor for MSD’s EBRG supporting colleagues with disabilities and their allies

“It has made us a more innovative and agile company — one that’s better attuned to the needs of our employees, patients and customers.”

Innovation

Our Q4 and full-year 2023 earnings report

February 1, 2024

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MSD’s Q4 and full-year 2023 results reflect sustained growth across oncology and vaccines. Our company announced Q4 worldwide sales of $14.6 billion, an increase of 6% from Q4 2022. Full-year 2023 worldwide sales were $60.1 billion, an increase of 1% from full-year 2022. ​

“2023 was another very strong year for MSD. I am extremely pleased by the progress we’ve made to develop and deliver transformative therapies and vaccines that will help save and improve lives around the world. We reached more than 500 million people with our medicines last year alone, over half of which were donations, including through our program to treat river blindness,” said Rob Davis, chairman and chief executive officer. “We also made investments of approximately $30 billion in research and development in our ongoing effort to discover, develop and collaborate to propel the next generation of impactful innovations. As we move forward, I’m confident that our strong momentum will continue, underpinned by the unwavering dedication of our talented global team.”​

MSD anticipates full-year 2024 worldwide sales to be between $62.7 billion and $64.2 billion.​

Take a look at the infographic below for more details on Q4 and full-year 2023 results. ​

Download infographic

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Health awareness

‘Wonder Angie’ enlists her ‘super friends’ to fight oral cancer

After receiving an oral squamous cell carcinoma diagnosis, a head and neck cancer survivor finds hope by embracing science, prioritizing mental health and leaning on her work family

January 26, 2024

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In 2017, Maria Angelica Rosario Marquez — or Angie, as she likes to be called— joined MSD in Colombia as a clinical data specialist. She had lost her father the year before and was looking forward to starting a new chapter. The novelty of that first year, however, was short-lived, as her mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2018.

Angie spoke to her manager, and he encouraged her to put family first. She booked a ticket to Chile and was there to support her mother and sister during the illness and her mother’s passing.

Just five months later, 34-year-old Angie was diagnosed with head and neck cancer, specifically squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue.

Head and neck cancer includes cancer of the oral cavity, throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx), nose (nasal cavity), sinuses (paranasal sinuses), and salivary glands. In 2020, nearly 932,000 people were diagnosed with a head and neck cancer globally. Some risk factors that may contribute to the development of head and neck cancer include tobacco use and alcohol consumption – but Angie’s disease was not linked to these typical risk factors.

It all started with pain in Angie’s tongue

Angie developed bruxism (grinding, clenching or gnashing of the teeth) and also noticed that she was continuously biting the same spot on her tongue while she was sleeping. She assumed it was due to stress caused by the devastation of losing both of her parents and her move to a new country without her family by her side. When the pain on the right side of her tongue increased to a point that made it difficult to eat or brush her teeth, her doctor decided to take a biopsy, and in March 2019, he informed her of the diagnosis.

“It was the most frightening thing I’ve ever felt in my life,” she said.

A week later, Angie had surgery to remove the right portion of her tongue, which contained the cancerous tissue, as well as 21 lymph nodes on the right side of her neck . A further analysis of the lymph nodes showed evidence of cancer, so her oncologist followed up with a treatment plan.

The toll of Angie’s treatment for oral cancer

Following her surgery and throughout treatment, Angie experienced a burning feeling in her mouth and throat, and it became extremely difficult for her to speak or eat – two of her favorite activities. Instead, she relied on a feeding tube for several months to receive her meals.

Though Angie was eventually able to resume eating normally, her sense of taste was impaired for a year after she finished treatment. The fact that chocolate, one of her favorite foods, tasted disgusting to her was heartbreaking.

“The doctor told me that he didn’t think I’d ever be able to speak well again. I told him that wasn’t an option because I love talking too much.”

— Angie Rosario

When Angie started to feel a deep depression, she prioritized her mental health and sought treatment from a psychologist, who taught her to focus on the present. Her psychologist encouraged her to visualize herself as a strong and healthy woman.

“I always say cancer was my teacher; It taught me how to live. If you have air in your lungs, you have everything you need,” Angie said.

Strong support and a welcome party from her work family

Angie is grateful for the science and research that helped play a part in her treatment. As of her last doctor’s visit, she remains healthy with no evidence of disease. Angie credits her work family at Merck for supporting her through much of her recovery. With the recent loss of her parents, her co-workers came to her aid with powerful emotional support that helped her through the toughest times. A lifelong collector of superhero toys, Angie came back to the office to find her desk covered in dolls, figurines and other gifts. Inspired by Angie’s courage, her colleagues even gave her a super-nickname: ‘Wonder Angie.’

Angie's desk filled with toys
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“I’m thankful for the science and medicine that helped save my life,” Angie said. “I can talk without pain, and that’s amazing. I can brush my teeth every day, and that’s amazing. I can eat, and that’s amazing.”

Angie has recovered her sense of taste for the most part, and can enjoy chocolate once again.