Merck for Mothers Working to End the Tragedy of Women in America Dying in Childbirth and Pregnancy

Initial commitment of $6 million dedicated to addressing growing U.S. problem

/ PRNewswire / — Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that Merck for Mothers has launched programs aimed at decreasing the number of women across the United States who die from or suffer severe complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.

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The maternal mortality rate in this country has nearly doubled since 1990, despite significant progress in reducing rates globally. In addition, more than 50,000 women a year in the United States – one every 10 minutes – nearly die from a severe complication they experience during pregnancy or childbirth.

“The rate of maternal mortality is increasing here in the United States. The tragedy is that many of these deaths are actually preventable,” said Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer, Merck. “Merck is working with partners around the globe to help improve the situation everywhere, including in the United States, to create a world where no woman dies while giving life.”

With work already under way in more than 20 countries including Brazil, India, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia Merck for Mothers is now working in the United States to address the following areas:

  • Enhancing community initiatives that coordinate care for high-risk women before, during, and after childbirth, so they have access to services that encourage good health during and beyond pregnancy;
  • Implementing standard approaches to address obstetric emergencies; and
  • Strengthening data collection and reviews to better understand why maternal deaths are occurring and use that knowledge to improve practices and patient care.

In the United States, Merck for Mothers is partnering with: the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, District II; the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs; the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses; Baltimore Healthy Start; California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative; Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers; Maternity Care Coalition; and the Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership.

About Merck for Mothers
Merck for Mothers is a 10-year, $500 million initiative focused on creating a world where no woman dies giving life. Drawing on the company's history of discovering innovative, life-saving medicines and vaccines, Merck for Mothers is applying Merck's scientific and business expertise – as well as its financial resources and experience in taking on tough global healthcare challenges – to reduce maternal mortality around the world. For more information, visit www.merckformothers.com and connect with us on Facebook.

Merck for Mothers Collaborations in the U.S.

  • American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – District II (Project State: New York) is working with more than 10,000 healthcare providers and approximately 130 birthing facilities to develop and implement standard approaches for handling emergency obstetric events: hemorrhage (severe bleeding), venous thromboembolism (blood clots), and severe hypertension (high blood pressure).
  • Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (Project States: Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Ohio) is strengthening state-based maternal mortality review boards across states to translate lessons learned into policies and practices that improve maternal health outcomes.
  • Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (Project States: Georgia, New Jersey, Washington, D.C.) is working to improve current responses to postpartum hemorrhage (excessive bleeding) to increase clinicians’ ability to recognize and treat women.
  • Baltimore Healthy Start (Project City: Baltimore, Maryland) is working with community-based clinics to improve prenatal and primary care for women facing chronic conditions.
  • California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (Project State: California) is using innovative large-scale implementation strategies with all birthing facilities in the state to adopt quality improvement toolkits for obstetric hemorrhage (severe bleeding) and preeclampsia (high blood pressure) to help reduce maternal mortality and morbidity.
  • Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers (Project City: Camden, New Jersey) is working with state agencies, community partners, and healthcare providers to design a model for medically complex pregnant women that improves data sharing among providers, coordinates multidisciplinary care during pregnancy and seamlessly connects mothers to postnatal healthcare.
  • Maternity Care Coalition (Project City: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is running “Safe Start MOMobile,” a home-visiting program that partners community health workers with at-risk pregnant women to provide them with the health education and support they need to reduce their risk of poor or catastrophic outcomes during pregnancy and childbirth. Maternity Care Coalition assists women in managing their chronic conditions and following their doctor’s recommendations using innovative technologies to reinforce health and wellness goals between visits.
  • Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership (Project City: New York, New York) is offering preventative programs to reduce the incidence of chronic health conditions among women of reproductive age.

About Merck
Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Forward-Looking Statement
This news release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck’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 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; Merck’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 Merck’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

Merck 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 Merck’s 2012 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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