Social Investments

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 capacity are important to improve access to quality health care and to help address underlying barriers to health. Through innovative approaches to social investments, we invest in initiatives targeting long-term solutions to improve health systems. These investments include philanthropic giving and impact investing.

Philanthropic giving

Our social investments through philanthropic giving target underlying barriers to access to health. Our approach to these investments is guided by several key principles: addressing critical global health needs where we can have a meaningful impact, collaborating with key partners to optimize our effectiveness, and leveraging not only cash and product donations but also expertise and capabilities across our company.

Learn more about our social investments through philanthropic giving.

Impact investing

One of our growing innovative approaches is impact investing, through which we are advancing sustainable global health solutions in line with our company’s overall objectives. Through impact investing, we are able to deploy financial resources in ways that may generate not only improved access to health care for underserved populations, but also financial returns and commercial opportunities—all while growing a sustainable global health ecosystem and attracting additional capital and partners.

Impact investing is led by our Office of Social Business Innovation with guidance from the Impact Investing Committee. Established in 2019, the Impact Investing Committee is a cross-functional team of senior company leaders that reviews and approves new investments in line with established policies and guidelines and monitors the financial and social returns of the impact portfolio. We are also members of the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), through which we can contribute to and benefit from the growing body of expertise in the impact investing ecosystem.

Our impact investing portfolio is summarized below, and we continue to evaluate impact investing opportunities that are aligned with our corporate responsibility priorities and business objectives. In 2018, more than 2.8 million people were reached by health interventions via our impact investments; as our investments continue to mature, we will continue to measure the social impact of our portfolio. In addition, to support the sustainability of our work, we intend to direct any financial returns from our impact investments into other corporate responsibility activities.

In 2014 we invested in the Global Health Investment Fund (GHIF), a social impact investment fund that supports the development of innovative medicines and other health interventions for patients in low- and middle-income countries. In 2016, we invested in what is now The Evercare Health Fund, managed by TPG. Evercare consists of a growing portfolio of hospitals, diagnostic centers and other facilities in high-growth countries in Africa and Asia. The sustainable business model of Evercare is developing commercial solutions to provide needed health services to reach patients who currently lack adequate health care and medical support.

In 2018, we joined UNICEF Bridge Fund by making a five-year loan to this novel investment vehicle that accelerates the provision of critical health care commodities to benefit vulnerable children in limited-resource settings, including for disaster relief. By providing a fixed rate of return to investors, the Bridge Fund combines timely, high-impact health assistance with sustainable deployment of our company’s financial resources.

In 2019, we invested in Leapfrog Investments Fund III, which is developing a portfolio focused on investing in innovative businesses providing financial services and health care services and products to low- and middle-income consumers in high-growth emerging markets. Investments will focus on health care inclusion (e.g., retail pharmacies) and financial inclusion, including health insurance companies and other businesses.

We also made an investment into TEAMFund (www.teamfundhealth.org), expanding access to affordable, appropriate and sustainable medical technologies that address unmet health needs for underserved populations, with an initial focus on India and Sub-Saharan Africa.

PHoto of a woman smiling at her child

Direct access

While we are committed to addressing underlying barriers to access through social investments, we recognize there are patients who need access now. To complement our philanthropic giving and impact investing that target long-term improvements in the health ecosystem, we operate programs to provide direct access to our medicines and vaccines to patients in need now and where market-based solutions are inadequate or unavailable. 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® (ivermectin) Donation Program and our U.S.-based Patient Assistance Programs.

Performance

COMMUNITY INVESTMENT2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Health care workers trained through our major programs and partnerships (estimate)1137,000 19,000 32,000 74,000 67,000
Annual investment in partnerships for activities that address underlying barriers to health, such as health-system strengthening and capacity building (in millions)1$32 $21 $28 $40 $37
People reached through our major programs and partnerships (in millions)1267 188 293 311 357
1 Represents investments by our Office of Social Business Innovation, including our Office of Corporate Responsibility, MSD for Mothers and our company’s Foundation.