Back to Companies_FS
Merck & Co is currently the seventh largest pharmesutical company in terms of market capitalizaion and revenue. It was originally established in Germany as Merck(KGaA), in 1668 and corportated in America as Merck & Co. in 1891 as a subsidiary. It was appropriated by the American government in WWI and subsequently re-established as an American company. The original German company began when Friedrich Jacob Merck purchased a pharmacy in Darmstatd which he named the Engel-Apotheke (Angel Pharmacy). For the subsequent six generations it was passed from father to son, when in 1827 Heinrich Emanuel Merck opened the pharmaceutacal factory in the same town, allowing for growth of the company and began their research. American-born grandson of Heinrich Emmanuel Merck became the head of the company Merck & Co after it was confiscated in WWI.
The company has since been a leader in the industry of vaccination, and has developed several produts that improve overall quality of life. At the forefront of vaccination, Maurice Hilleman was considered one of the most productive vaccinologist and some are still used today: measles, mumps, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chickenpox, meningitis, pneumonia and Haemophilus influenzae bacteria. He also identified the strain of the flu that caused the epidemic in 1957 and predicted the death of millions if it went untreated. Working around the clock, he developed a vaccine and disributed it to America, which only suffered 69000 deaths as opposed to the millions he predicted. The Hilleman lab was operated like a miliary unit; he would fire employees that did not live up to his standards, he would often yell to win arguments, and as a result, his scientists were fiercely loya to him until his death in 2005. The Hilleman lab is still in operation, however, and are still working to create vaccines.
Today, Merck has continued to be on the cutting edge of vaccines because of the large amount of money dedicated to research. They also have been public since sometime in 1995 (I couldn't find and exact date). They claim to offer reimbursement support to those who need it and help get people the care they need, and try to be as transparent as possible. Unfortunately, for them, they have to be honest about all past wrongdoings or wrongdoings happening now. In the past, they've been written up for environmental concerns, most notably they had to pay 1.8 million dollars to the San Diego area for releaseing a volatile compound into the air and replaced their ventilation system to put out less pollutants. They also (at a date unknown) reworked their processes that required methylene chloride (an animal carcinogen) to use substances that have significantly less of an environmental impact. They have also admitted to producing a fraudulent medical journal between 2002 and 2005 that would give other companies a bad name while reviewing theirs positively. The Merck website also displays images of smiling African children as if to imply they somehow help them out, but I have been unable to find any information on that topic.