Established in 1891, Merck & Co., Inc is one of the world's largest and most successful pharmaceutical companies. Merck works to discover and manufacture a range of treatments and medications with the aim of improving healthcare worldwide, with an emphasis on research and development. In addition to the development of medications, the company also publishes medical reference books as part of The Merck Manuals series, one of which, the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, is the best-selling medical textbook in the world. The company was among the first pharmaceutical companies in America in the 1950s to provide assistance to people who could not afford their medications.
Though officially established in 1891, Merck & Co has a history that dates back to 1668, with the purchase of a German pharmacy by a man named Friedrich Jacob Merck. By 1816, Emmanuel Merck owned the store and, along with his successors, developed a pharmaceutical factory. George Merck emigrated in 1891 to the United States, where he established Merck & Co. Since then, Merck has expanded to the point where it now employees 84,000 people who work in 120 countries across the world. In 2009, they merged with their competitor, Schering-Plough.
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Merck produces a range of prescription medications in areas of cardiovascular, endocrinology, gastroenterology, immunology, infectious disease, neuroscience, oncology, ophthalmics, urology and respiratory care. One of their successful medications is Propecia, which contains finasteride and is the only prescription hair loss treatment available anywhere in the world. They also manufacture Zocor, a branded version of the high cholesterol medication Simvastatin.
Merck & Co. continues to research and develop medications and remains at the forefront of the pharmaceutical industry. They identify four priority areas to their corporate responsibility framework, including access to health, environmental sustainability, their employees and ethics and transparency. With a combination of these elements and a commitment to continued research and development, it is likely that Merck & Co. will remain one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the world.