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Merck Announces Additional $150M Investment Through 2025 To Help End Maternal Mortality Inequities

Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced today an additional $150 million commitment through Merck for Mothers to further advance the initiative's mission of helping create a world where no woman has to die giving...

Merck (MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. Report, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced today an additional $150 million commitment through Merck for Mothers to further advance the initiative's mission of helping create a world where no woman has to die giving life. This investment builds on a $500 million commitment made in 2011 and underscores the company's legacy of catalyzing sustainable solutions that improve health equity and maternal health outcomes worldwide. To date, programs supported by Merck for Mothers promoting safe, high-quality, respectful care have reached 13.1 million women. The new commitment aims to support programs that deliver essential maternal and reproductive health services to reach 25 million women by 2025.

This investment comes at a pivotal time for the global health community as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to stretch health systems, disrupting networks of care that support healthy pregnancies and safe childbirth. In a world where a woman dies every two minutes from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth - many from complications which are preventable - more work is needed across sectors to tackle this issue. Merck for Mothers will continue to focus efforts on countries where the need is great, including India, Nigeria, Kenya and the U.S., bringing on new collaborators and strategic investments that further scale the impact of the current 100+ programs across 50+ global sites.

At least $15 million of the new commitment will be dedicated to responding to the Biden-Harris Maternal Health Call to Action for a whole-of-society approach to addressing the U.S. maternal health crisis, building on the Safer Childbirth Cities initiative in the U.S. According to World Health Organization estimates, the U.S. is the only high-income country where maternal mortality is on the rise. With this new funding, Merck for Mothers will invest in grants and strategic collaborations that stimulate, advance and scale innovations to improve quality of care and reverse this trend. Efforts will be focused across a spectrum of approaches including but not limited to amplifying and scaling community-led interventions that eliminate racial health disparities around pregnancy and childbirth, supporting training opportunities for the perinatal health workforce and advancing standardized clinical care coupled with social and emotional support during the postpartum period.

"Today our company is proud to announce an additional $150 million commitment through Merck for Mothers with the goal of improving the maternal health and well-being of 25 million women by 2025," said Rob Davis, chief executive officer and president, Merck. "Merck for Mothers and its partners have already reached more than 13 million women through its programs and I am proud to reaffirm our efforts to help create a healthier, more equitable society where no woman dies while giving life with this new pledge."

"One of the hidden consequences of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is its tragic impact on maternal health," said Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, chief patient officer at Merck. "We are now applying what we've learned from our long-standing Merck for Mothers program to catalyze partnerships that help promote healthy pregnancy and address the needs of the women most affected by the pandemic."

The details of specific grants and the opening of any calls for proposals will be the subject of future announcements. To learn more about Merck for Mothers, our work to foster innovative approaches to advance maternal health and our impact to date, please visit: MerckforMothers.com.

About Merck

For over 130 years, Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world's most challenging diseases in pursuit of our mission to save and improve lives. We demonstrate our commitment to patients and population health by increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten people and animals - including cancer, infectious diseases such as HIV and Ebola, and emerging animal diseases - as we aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA

This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the "company") includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company's management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of the global outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19); the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the company's ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company's patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in the company's 2020 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC's Internet site ( www.sec.gov).

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