Community Investment

Community Investment

We recognize that we cannot address complex public health challenges on our own, but must address the barriers to access where we believe we can make the strongest contributions.



We know that strengthening health systems and building health workforce capacity are important to improve access to quality health care and to help address underlying barriers to health. Through innovative approaches and partnerships, we will invest our expertise, human resources, financial resources, products and market-based solutions to:

  • Support capacity-building, including health care professional training, to deliver health care solutions
  • Address underlying barriers to health, such as health-system strengthening
  • Pursue programs to provide direct access to our medicines and vaccines when market-based solutions are inadequate or unavailable

Despite efforts to develop and implement effective business and philanthropic strategies to help remove barriers to access, challenges remain due to the complex and multifaceted nature of the problem. To address these challenges, the international community must pool its resources and expertise to strengthen health care systems, ensure adequate financing for health and help build local health care capacity. Even in developed countries, challenges remain to reach groups of underserved populations.

Examples of our community investment follow:

MSD for Mothers is a 10-year, $500 million initiative focused on improving the health and well-being of mothers during pregnancy and childbirth. Learn more.

The MSD Fellowship for Global Health is a three-month, field-based corporate pro bono program that is designed to leverage the skills and talents of our employees worldwide. Learn more.

In 2015, we initiated a three-year partnership with the Australian NGO One Disease to fight scabies among indigenous populations. Funding from our company and another donor is supporting the work of skin-health nurses to identify and manage the severe form of scabies in East and West Arnhem Land. The nurses will assist in training local clinics and educating both clinics and households with recurrent scabies problems. The lessons learned will be used to develop best-practice guidelines for scabies management across the country. Learn more.

In March of 2016, our company and the MECTIZAN® (ivermectin) Donation Program donated $1 million to the END Fund in support of efforts in Africa to eliminate river blindness (onchocerciasis). The donation is enabling participating countries to enhance their in-country technical expertise in support of final verification of elimination by the World Health Organization (WHO). While four countries in Latin America have already received WHO verification of elimination of river blindness, no countries in Africa have yet achieved this goal. Learn more.

In 2016, we made a private equity “impact investment” in the Abraaj Growth Markets Health Fund (AGHF). AGHF will support hospital and clinic networks in select, targeted cities in high-growth countries in Africa and Asia. The sustainable business model of AGHF will develop commercial solutions to provide needed health services to reach patients who currently lack adequate health care and medical support. In addition to monitoring the financial return on investment, a high-caliber team of public health experts will guide the monitoring and evaluation of the social and health impact.

For additional examples of our support for health care capacity-building and health-system-strengthening activities, please visit the Key Initiatives, Giving—Health, Women’s Health and Vaccines pages.

We also recognize that adequate solutions are not always available when patients need them. And while we do not believe that donating medicines alone is a sustainable, long-term solution to the global challenge of access to medicines, we recognize that millions of patients need medicines now. For that reason, we remain committed to donating our medicines and vaccines through organized programs, as appropriate.

The primary programs involving donations of our products are: our Medical Outreach Program, the MECTIZAN Donation Program and our U.S.-based Patient Assistance Programs.


Health care workers trained through our major programs and partnerships138,000 22,000 137,000 18,669 32,218
Investment in partnerships for activities that address underlying barriers to health, such as health-system strengthening and capacity building (in millions)1 $24 $24 $32 $31 $28
People reached through our major programs and partnerships (in millions) 269 302 267 188 293
1. Includes investments by the Office of Corporate Responsibility, MSD for Mothers and our company’s Foundation.