MSD Medical Outreach Program

Recognizing that there are communities around the world without access to medicine and vaccines, the MSD Medical Outreach Program (MMOP) was established over 60 years ago to help provide lifesaving medicines and vaccines to those in need.

Highlights

Partnered with AT&T, Direct Relief, Volans-I and Softbox to test the ability of unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver donations of medicines and vaccines

Our approach

The MMOP is the primary means through which the company donates its pharmaceuticals and vaccines for humanitarian assistance in the developing world and in support of disaster relief worldwide.

Managed by the company’s Office of Corporate Responsibility, the MMOP helps expand access to our products, particularly in developing countries. Through this program, we donate pharmaceuticals and vaccines to a limited number of qualified, U.S.-based nongovernmental organization (NGO) partners. The scope of the program varies from year to year and is influenced by changing medical needs in developing countries, the quantity of our medicines available for donation, and the unpredictable nature of emergencies or disasters.

Donations of our medicines are made primarily through these qualified NGOs:

Each NGO has a long-standing relationship with the company, demonstrates integrity of purpose, provides assurance that our products will be securely warehoused, and has well-established programs in developing countries.

With each participating NGO, we maintain an agreement designed to ensure the proper distribution and handling of our medicines, as well as to outline procedures for reporting potential adverse reactions. The agreement also follows the World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for Drug Donations, which establish quality-assurance standards for responsible product donations. For example, we donate only products with adequate dating to ensure that they can be administered appropriately prior to their expiration date.

Employee volunteers help package disaster response kits.

Employee volunteers help package disaster response kits for Americares, an MMOP NGO partner

We also conduct periodic, collaborative site assessments of our NGO partners’ warehouse facilities to strengthen their overall operations and optimize supply chain effectiveness. Collaborative site assessments occur every five years or less, depending on whether previous assessments have resulted in recommended corrective actions to address measures to improve the safety, security and storage of our medicine. Such recommendations have included enhancing storage-rack inspection and maintenance, strengthening delivery receipt procedures and improving material-handling procedures.

We are a member of the Partnership for Quality Medical Donations (PQMD), an alliance of NGOs and medical product manufacturers dedicated to raising the standards of medical donations in order to meet the needs of underserved populations and disaster victims around the world. Members of PQMD are committed to bringing measurable health impact by setting quality standards, disseminating knowledge and influencing policy.

Programs and initiatives

Annual allotment program

Each year, participating NGOs can order fully dated medicines of their choice from the company’s current product line, up to an annually authorized amount. Through this approach, the partners can receive a sustained and predictable supply of needed medicines, crucial to the effective planning of their ongoing humanitarian programs. The most commonly requested medicines help treat cancer and chemotherapy side effects, diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory problems, and fungal or bacterial infections in developing countries where people do not otherwise have access to these medications.

Ongoing donations of pharmaceuticals and vaccines

Donations of our pharmaceuticals and vaccines are also made throughout the year in response to requests from our partners to address some additional needs of specific programs around the world. We also offer products to our partners proactively, based on available supply, for use in their ongoing humanitarian programs.

Disaster and emergency relief

Through the MMOP we donate pharmaceuticals and vaccines in response to, or in preparation for, major disasters and emergency recovery efforts. We respond to those requests based on the relief agency’s firsthand assessment of need. We also may provide financial support for our NGO partners’ disaster-relief efforts when appropriate.

Capacity-building

Beyond donated medicines, we seek ways to support our NGO partner organizations by providing both financial assistance and technical support. Our company awards yearly operational cash grants to assist with shipping and logistics associated with the annual allotment of product donations for their ongoing health and humanitarian programs.

Drone pilot program

Throughout 2018 and 2019, our company partnered with AT&T, Direct Relief, Volans-I and Softbox to test the ability of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, also known as drones) to deliver donations of medicines and vaccines. These ‘proof-of-concept’ pilot missions were meant to demonstrate the potential use of drones to safely deliver temperature-dependent medicines and vaccines to hard-to-reach locations. The pilots were successfully completed in Puerto Rico and the Bahamas but revealed some regulatory and operational challenges that still exist in this progressing environment.

Performance data

MSD Medical Outreach Program (MMOP)20152016201720182019
Countries and territories reached by the MMOP 7255627256
Estimated number of people reached1, 278,555109,398376,304349,570457,520
Disaster relief (product) contributions (in millions)3$4.70$13.41$19.91$12.76$15.38
1Estimated figures, which assume all product reached patients, are based on converting volume of medicines and vaccines donated. Conversion factors for this estimate were developed using a combination of QuintilesIMS SMART Data and U.S. product information found on our company’s product website.
2Inhalation brands were analyzed differently in 2017, 2018 and 2019 as compared to previous years. Prescriber Information dosing information was used to calculate total doses for one year for chronic asthma patient and assumes splitting inhalers.
3We set the value of our product donations based on the U.S. wholesale acquisition cost.

Throughout 2019, the donations of our medicines and vaccines provided immediate and ongoing assistance to those affected by hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires and other natural or manmade disasters in Africa, South America, the Caribbean and the United States (including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands).

We supported partner emergency preparedness and medical mission programs and supplied medical aid to hundreds of thousands of people in need through our partner NGOs’ disaster response and ongoing medical programs.

Our product donation program enabled our NGO partners to provide local health care workers in developing countries the medications they need to treat chronic conditions and acute diseases through community health services worldwide.