Merck commits $3M to address maternal health needs during COVID-19 pandemic

Merck announced on Thursday a $3 million commitment to help strengthen the health systems affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the company’s global initiative Merck for Mothers, Merck said it will donate funds to health systems to better meet the needs of pregnant women before, during and after labor.

“Our goal in establishing Merck for Mothers in 2011 was to advance the quality of maternal health care and improve access to care during one of the most critical moments in a woman’s life,” Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and CEO, Merck, said. “That call to action for us is even stronger in the midst of the pandemic. That is why we are increasing our efforts to strengthen the capacity of our health care systems to support these women.”

Merck has also launched a program to enable medically-trained employees to volunteer and help with the crisis while maintaining their base pay.

“Our health systems and heroic health care providers are fully focused on COVID-19, but childbirth will not wait for the pandemic to ease,” Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, chief patient officer at Merck, said. “We are eager to partner with our many collaborators working to help end maternal mortality to provide enhanced care to pregnant women and new mothers at this crucial time for them, and this crucial time for us as a society.”

In total, Merck has contributed or committed more than $11 million to COVID-19 relief efforts.