Our company’s mission is to discover and develop important medicines and vaccines that help solve the world’s greatest health care challenges.
For more than a century, we have considered it our responsibility to create value for our stakeholders while also contributing to societal objectives. Our 2017/2018 Corporate Responsibility Report reviews our progress in line with our commitment and global goals. It focuses on our four corporate responsibility priority areas: expanding access to our medical breakthroughs, building a robust and resilient workforce, promoting environmental sustainability and operating on a foundation of ethical, transparent behavior.
Invention is responsible for some of the largest strides in public health—but we can’t save lives unless patients have access to our discoveries. Over the course of 2018, we collaborated with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners to supply and support the administration of our investigational Ebola vaccine in response to outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other areas. We began developing this vaccine following the Ebola epidemic of 2014-2016, which was the most deadly to date, taking more than 11,000 lives. In 2018, in response to another Ebola outbreak, public health officials began using our experimental vaccine and have called it a “game changer,” helping them to save lives and prevent the spread of the disease. Ebola remains a serious threat, but the investigational vaccine offers great value to society as a potential tool to better fight this deadly virus.
Our mission of saving and improving lives means we have an important role to play in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One way we contribute is through our MSD for Mothers program, which is focused on fighting maternal mortality around the world—a key SDG 3 indicator. Over the past six years, MSD for Mothers has improved access to quality care and modern contraception for more than 6 million women in over 30 countries. In 2018, together with the WHO and Ferring Pharmaceuticals, MSD for Mothers announced study results—published in the New England Journal of Medicine—of an investigational drug that could prevent postpartum bleeding, the leading direct cause of maternal mortality. The drug doesn’t require refrigeration, offering a potential new option for low- and lower-middle income countries that have a high burden of maternal mortality. MSD for Mothers is working with partners to make it available and affordable in those places.
As part of our commitment to access, we continue to responsibly price our products and find innovative solutions to ensure patients can obtain the medicines they need. As part of that work, we published our second Pricing Action Transparency Report in the United States and we continue to participate in Access Accelerated, a cross-industry effort to improve prevention, treatment and care for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries.
We are a company with a large global manufacturing footprint, and we embrace the responsibilities and opportunities this creates for environmental stewardship. Through our own actions and our engagement with partners, we continue to make progress on our goals regarding the environmental impact of our operations, supply chain, products and packaging. For example, we signed a Virtual Power Purchase Agreement that advances our progress toward our 2025 goal of having more than 50 percent of our purchased electricity come from renewable sources.
Our ability to deliver on our mission depends on the diverse talent of our employees. We have a responsibility to develop our workforce in line with the goals of our company. Our efforts to promote diversity and inclusion make us a stronger company, and our support for workplace wellness programs helps us maintain a healthier workforce of nearly 70,000 people.
In 2017, we experienced a number of challenges including a cyber-incident and multiple natural disasters that tested the resiliency of our employees and the communities in which we operate.
In response to the cyber-incident, we are pursuing an enterprise-wide effort to enhance our resiliency, strengthening our ability to maintain supplies of our life-saving and medically significant medicines and vaccines. And while Hurricane Maria disrupted our manufacturing capabilities and displaced many of our employees in Puerto Rico, I’m proud of our people who went home to home to ensure the safety of their fellow employees and their families, and then pushed forward in resuming critical manufacturing. As part of our comprehensive response to Hurricane Maria, we contributed tens of millions of dollars in financial support and relief supplies to Puerto Rico and other affected areas in the Caribbean.
There is increasing interest and a growing belief that a company’s ethical impact can serve as a barometer for its value and long-term sustainability. We welcome this focus. This report reflects our commitment to external, objective reporting standards that reflect key environmental, social and governance issues, including the SDGs. We also reiterate our support for the 10 universally accepted principles of the UN Global Compact. In 2018, we initiated a new corporate responsibility materiality assessment to identify, understand and report on issues that matter most to our stakeholders and are most related to the success of our operations. Through these frameworks and stakeholder engagement, we continue to evolve and fine tune our efforts to strengthen and support the company’s long-term sustainability.
Over the course of the last century, our purpose in the world has not changed. By looking ahead to the next century, we can ensure that we can continue to fulfill our mission, balance the needs of the many stakeholders we serve and contribute to making this a better, healthier world for all. Future generations are counting on us.
Kenneth C. Frazier
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer