Merck & Co.

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Merck & Co., Inc.

legal form Incorporated
ISIN US58933Y1055
founding 1891
Seat Kenilworth , United StatesUnited StatesUnited States 
management Kenneth Frazier ( CEO and President )
Number of employees 71,000 (2019)
sales $ 46.8 billion (2019)
Branch pharmacy
Website ,
As of March 22, 2020

Merck & Co. , as it is only called in the USA and Canada for legal reasons, or Merck Sharp & Dohme ( MSD for short ) is a US pharmaceutical company based in Kenilworth (New Jersey) . It was originally the US subsidiary of the Darmstadt-based pharmaceutical company E. Merck (now Merck KGaA ). Like numerous other German assets, however, it was confiscated in 1917 during the First World War and has been operating independently since then. MSD employs around 71,000 people worldwide and is one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers in the world with sales of almost 47 billion US dollars worldwide - after Roche , Pfizer and Novartis .


Merck & Co

Georg (e) Merck

Merck & Co. owes its origins to Friedrich Jacob Merck , who in 1668 acquired the Engel pharmacy in Darmstadt , which is still owned by the family as the nucleus of the oldest pharmaceutical company in the world, and Emanuel Merck , who has run the pharmacy since 1816 continued.

After a subsidiary of Merck had been founded in New York in 1887, Georg Merck expanded in 1891 and founded Merck & Co. in New York . Merck & Co. was confiscated during the First World War in 1917 and made a US company independent of its parent company. This is the reason why Merck & Co. is only allowed to use this brand name in the North American market.

Sharp & Dohme

The Sharp & Dohme company was founded in Baltimore in 1845 by Alpheus Phineas Sharp as a pharmacy. His apprentice Louis Dohme came from Obernkirchen in Germany and was a cousin of August Oetker , whom he supported in setting up his later baking powder production. Sharp & Dohme has been particularly successful in the research and marketing of sulfonamides , vaccines, and blood plasma products .

Merck, Sharp & Dohme

In 1953 Merck & Co. Inc. merged with Sharp & Dohme, which was then based in Philadelphia , and from then on called itself internationally Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD). In Germany it appears as MSD Sharp & Dohme GmbH . In contrast, the German Merck KGaA is represented in the USA and Canada as EMD (Emanuel Merck, Darmstadt).

Today MSD employs around 71,000 people in over 140 countries and operates 28 manufacturing facilities. The group has had a German branch since 1963, which has been based in Haar (near Munich) since September 1994 .

The cholesterol-lowering drug Zocor ( simvastatin ), whose patent protection in the USA expired in 2006, has long been the company's top-selling drug. At times it was the drug with the highest sales worldwide. In 2006 sales of the asthma product Singulair ( Montelukast ) were highest.

In 2005, MSD's Chief Executive Officer Raymond Gilmartin resigned at the age of 64 after a scandal surrounding Merck's anti-rheumatic drug Vioxx ( rofecoxib ) became known. The former production manager Richard Clark was then elected as the new managing director.

In the same year, MSD defined the nine main research areas as part of a restructuring program: Alzheimer's disease , atherosclerosis , cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus , novel vaccines , obesity , cancer , pain and sleep disorders . With the help of this focus of research resources, the company intends to regain its lost market leadership and to increasingly develop new potential blockbusters to compensate for the expected decline in sales at Zocor.

MSD announced on March 9, 2009 that it would take over the pharmaceutical company Schering-Plow for $ 41 billion; the merger was completed on November 3, 2009. The company has been led by Kenneth C. Frazier since 2011.

In 2015, Whitehouse Station's corporate headquarters in Hunterdon County ( Merck Headquarters Building ) moved to nearby Kenilworth , where a production facility had previously been located.

MSD in Germany

Logo of MSD Sharp & Dohme GmbH, the design comes from Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv .

MSD Germany employs around 2,200 people and achieved sales of 1.9 billion euros in 2019. The MSD group of companies includes:

  • MSD Sharp & Dohme GmbH
  • MSD Chibropharm GmbH
  • Dieckmann Arzneimittel GmbH
  • Chibret Pharmazeutische GmbH
  • Varipharm Arzneimittel GmbH
  • Rigontec GmbH
  • Intervet Deutschland GmbH (veterinary)
  • Intervet Innovation GmbH (veterinary)

All eight companies are based in Haar .

Vioxx scandal

MSD made the pain reliever Vioxx ( INN : rofecoxib), a COX-2 inhibitor that the company knew a year before the drug was withdrawn from the market in September 2004 to pose a risk of stroke and heart attack in patients elevated. For this reason, MSD has been sued in more than 10,000 individual cases in the United States since the scandal began in late 2003. In a first trial for the death of a 59-year-old Texan, possibly caused by Vioxx, MSD was sentenced to pay his widow $ 253 million. However, Texan law limits the amount to a maximum of 27 million US dollars. In addition, MSD appealed against the judgment, arguing that the person affected died of an arrhythmia (cardiac arrhythmia). There are no indications that Vioxx would favor this clinical picture. The company was acquitted in two further proceedings. Vioxx was one of the most widely prescribed drugs in the world. The economic risk to MSD in connection with these lawsuits is consequently enormous and is estimated by some analysts at up to 50 billion US dollars.

In 2008 it became known that studies of Vioxx had been manipulated by MSD to better represent the drug. In-house analyzes that showed an increase in the mortality rate under Vioxx as early as 2001 were not published and the US American Medicines Agency FDA was not presented to the FDA upon request. In the APPROVe study, incorrect statistics were used, which meant that cardiovascular complications did not occur significantly more frequently until after 18 months (about 540 tablets). The corrected statistics show a significant increase in cardiovascular complications after just four months (120 tablets). In the US comparison, only one month (30 tablets) is required. In addition, in the APPROVe study, the daily intake of VIOXX was not controlled by an otherwise customary “pill count”. Nevertheless, many lawsuits are dismissed in Germany if a daily intake of Vioxx for 18 months cannot be proven down to the last tablet. The Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care estimates that 7,000 people in Germany alone fell ill or died from taking Vioxx.

In 2009 it became public in Australia that MSD had an internal list of critics of the drug prior to the withdrawal from the market.

Also in 2009, it was announced that the Australian subsidiary of MSD between 2002 and 2005 the scientific publisher Elsevier paid for eight compilations of scientific articles with positive for MSD statements, among others, to Vioxx as apparent peer review - journal named Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine . The publications did not refer to funding from MSD.

publishing company

MSD also operates a specialist book publisher that publishes a variety of reference books, including the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy and the Merck Index .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Company Fact Sheet
  2. Merck Announces Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year 2019 Financial Results , PM Merck & Co dated February 5, 2020, accessed on February 12, 2020
  3. ^ Rüdiger Jungblut: Die Oetkers , Frankfurt 2004, ISBN 3-404-61594-8 , p. 38 ff.
  4. Megafusion: Merck & Co. wants Schering-Plow. In: March 9, 2009, accessed March 7, 2016 .
  5. Merck and Schering-Plow to Merge. (No longer available online.) In: March 9, 2009, archived from the original on March 12, 2009 ; Retrieved March 10, 2009 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. Merck and Schering-Plow to Complete Merger Today. Press release from Merck & Schering-Plow, November 3, 2009.
  7. Merck Board Elects Kenneth C. Frazier as Next CEO; Richard T. Clark to Continue as Chairman - New Roles Effective January 1, 2011 ( Memento July 8, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  8. Our company. In: MSD Germany. 2020, accessed on March 22, 2020 .
  9. Dow Jones News: Merck & Co is taking off the arthritis drug Vioxx with immediate effect. In: , September 30, 2004
  10. Merck & Co knew about the risks of Vioxx early on . In: Dow Jones News , Nov. 18, 2004
  11. Nicola von Lutterotti: Felt in the pharmaceutical industry: Our medicine should become more beautiful . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . ISSN  0174-4909 ( [accessed March 8, 2020]).
  12. BM Psaty, RA Kronmal: Reporting mortality findings in trials of rofecoxib for Alzheimer disease or cognitive impairment: a case study based on documents from rofecoxib litigation. In: JAMA. Volume 299, Number 15, April 2008, pp. 1813-1817, doi : 10.1001 / jama.299.15.1813 , PMID 18413875 .
  13. SW Lagakos: Time-to-event analyzes for long-term treatments-the APPROVe trial. In: The New England journal of medicine. Volume 355, Number 2, July 2006, pp. 113-117, doi : 10.1056 / NEJMp068137 , PMID 16801354 .
  14. Rainer Kurlemann: Heart cells help with drug tests . In: Hamburger Abendblatt. January 14, 2014, p. 19.
  15. Miranda Rout: Vioxx maker Merck and Co. drew up doctor hit list. In: The Australian . April 1, 2009, accessed November 27, 2009 .
  16. Natasha Singer: Merck Paid for Medical 'Journal' Without Disclosure. In: New York Times . May 13, 2009, accessed November 27, 2009 .
  17. Bob Grant: Merck published fake journal. In: The Scientist. April 30, 2009, accessed November 27, 2009 .
  18. Konrad Lischka: Elsevier had pseudo specialist journals paid for by pharmaceutical companies. In: Spiegel Online . May 11, 2009. Retrieved November 27, 2009 .