Profitable Gifts: A History of the Merck Mectizan Donation Program and Its Implications for International Health
Abstract

A unique public/private partnership situated around a pharmaceutical, Merck's Mectizan® donation program stands out as an example of corporate philanthropy in the history of the pharmaceutical industry and provides insight into future public/private partnerships in public health. This paper considers the issues Merck faced in the decision to donate Mectizan (ivermectin) and in the subsequent development of the Mectizan donation program, delineating the moral and financial debates that arose within the company. Coming after almost 15 years of donation, this assessment of the program's strengths and shortcomings suggests how the pharmaceutical industry can better serve as a viable partner in improving international health.


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