Merck To Expand Its Maternal Health Program Begun In Developing Countries To U.S.

“Merck & Co on Tuesday said it is expanding its ‘Merck for Mothers’ program, which aims to reduce pregnancy-related deaths from impoverished countries such as Senegal and Zambia, to the United States — a stark reminder of how far the country lags other wealthy nations on key measures of health,” Reuters reports. “‘As Americans, we simply should not accept that 46 countries have lower rates’ of reported maternal mortality, said Merck Chief Executive Ken Frazier,” the news agency writes, adding, “The fact that U.S. pregnancy-related deaths have nearly doubled since 1990 is ‘appalling’ and ‘something we ought to be ashamed of,’ he said.” Merck “launched the $500 million global program in 2011 to reduce pregnancy-related deaths, focusing on India, Uganda and other poor countries with only rudimentary health care systems,” Reuters notes, adding, “‘Merck for Mothers’ will provide $6 million to U.S. programs in 10 states and three cities aimed at decreasing the number of women who die as a result of being pregnant or giving birth” (Begley, 11/19).