Darmstadt, Germany, November 18, 2014 – Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical, chemical and life science sectors, announced today that it now ranks sixth in the Access to Medicine Index published yesterday by the Access to Medicine Foundation. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has moved up two places compared to the 2012 ranking. This improvement underlines the company’s commitment to helping overcome barriers to access for underserved populations and communities in low- and middle-income countries as part of its corporate responsibility and sustainable business approach. Every two years, the Access to Medicine Index benchmarks the top pharmaceutical companies on activities and initiatives that are advancing access to medicines in developing countries.

“Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has revised its Access to Health strategy and has launched new initiatives since 2012 including a pro-access business model in India and an innovative initiative to increase local manufacturing capabilities,” the Access to Medicine Foundation cited as reasons why Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has advanced in the new ranking.

“Our efforts have been well-recognized by the Access to Medicine Foundation and we are proud to be ranked amongst the top leading companies only three years after starting our Access to Health initiative,” Stefan Oschmann, Chief Executive Officer Pharma and Vice Chairman Elect of the Executive Board of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, said. ”The fact that we’ve once again improved our ranking proves that access to health has become an integral part of how we conduct business. Of course we will continue our endeavors to better help patients, who are at the core of all our efforts, and to possibly further contribute to alleviating the various barriers to access for those most in need.”

The company’s strategy to addressing the complex challenge of providing access to underserved populations and patients in low- and middle-income countries focuses upon four priority areas, known as the 4As for Availability, Affordability, Awareness and Accessibility. Whereas availability includes refining of health solutions to address unmet needs tailored to local environments, affordability entails to address the inability to pay challenge. Awareness focuses on empowering people with appropriate tools and knowledge to make informed decisions, whether through education and training or metrics and evidence gathering, and accessibility comprises of initiatives to strengthen supply chain and develop localized health solutions.

Compared to 2012, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, now has been recognized by the Access to Medicine Foundation in particular for leading practices such as:
Strategic approach that comprises for example strong focus on research & development for local and unmet needs and innovative manufacturing and distribution initiatives, including forward integration of supply chains
Multi-dimensional approach to fight the tropical worm disease schistosomiasis: a long-term donation program that aims to help eliminate the disease, as well as the development of a new diagnostic tool and a pediatric formulation
Pro-access IP management comprising of a commitment not to file for or enforce patents in the widest range of developing countries, access policies for future on-patent products, and open innovation initiatives.

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, established its Access to Health initiative in February 2011 and has identified access gaps and opportunities to better meet the needs of underserved patients. The unit is ensuring that access brings added value to the community at large, and is becoming an integral part of how Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, conducts business in a responsible, sustainable manner. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, launched the Su-Swastha pilot program, a pro-access business model aiming at increasing access to healthcare products at an affordable price in rural India. Another good example is the Capacity Advancement Program (CAP) of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, to raise awareness of diabetes in Africa and in India by educating the public and supporting the healthcare system on ways to prevent, diagnose and manage diabetes effectively. In summary, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, recognizes the complexity of bringing health solutions to the poor and understands that Access to Medicine Index objectives cannot be reached by the pharmaceutical industry alone. Partnership, collaboration and continuous dialogue with a diverse array of stakeholders are key to ensuring that the delivery of sustainable access solutions is serving people’s needs.

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Access to Medicine Foundation
The Access to Medicine Foundation is an international not for profit organization stimulating pharmaceutical companies to improve access to medicine to societies in need. Based in Haarlem, the Netherlands, the Foundation publishes the Access to Medicine Index, the first Index of its kind to rank pharmaceutical companies with respect to their efforts to enhance global access to medicine.
The Foundation aims to advance access to medicine in developing countries by encouraging the pharmaceutical industry to accept a greater role towards improving access to medicine in less developed countries. Please find more information here.

Access to Medicine Index
Access to medicines remains a very serious concern for billions of people suffering from disease and is still a primary challenge for the global health system. Reflecting the key role of the pharmaceutical industry in addressing the challenges of access, it is essential that the Access to Medicine Index’s approach to monitoring and evaluating the performance of the industry in this work is robust, balanced and comprehensive. The foundation every two years ranks 20 medium to large-size pharmaceutical companies with respect to their efforts to enhance global access to medicine. You can see the latest ranking as well as rankings from the past here.