Merck and the Merck Foundation have announced a $10 million commitment in support of global COVID-19 relief efforts and efforts to reduce health disparities among underserved patients and communities.
Awarded in conjunction with #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving aimed at encouraging acts of generosity in response to the unprecedented level of need created by the pandemic, the funding will address the disproportionate impact COVID-19 is having on underserved populations as a result of existing structural inequalities, both globally and in the United States, where infection rates are highest among African Americans. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 90 percent of hospitalized patients have at least one underlying health condition. To help address such disparities, Merck will partner with select organizations to support underserved and vulnerable communities and patients with underlying health conditions and strengthen national health systems and the capacity of frontline healthcare workers to care for vulnerable patients.
The commitment boosts to $30 million the total the pharmaceutical giant has pledged for global, national, and local COVID-19 relief efforts, including $3 million to help health systems tackling COVID-19 better meet the needs of pregnant women before, during, and after delivery.
“COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge for the global community. At Merck, we are working to support patients, healthcare professionals, and communities across the world in the fight against this disease,” said Julie L. Gerberding, Merck’s chief patient officer. “This new commitment will help advance health equity and address social determinants of health in our most vulnerable communities and patient populations.”