Infectious Diseases

MSD’s Commitment to Combating Antimicrobial Resistance: A Call for Global Action

Alarming levels of drug-resistant infections have been reported in humans and animals in countries of all income brackets.

16 November 2023

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Image: a scientist holds a petri dish.

AMR is a problem for all of us and it will take all of us working together to address it. In the spirit of this year’s WAAW theme, “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together,” MSD reiterates the commitment to addressing AMR globally via a “One Health” approach, but also calls on the need for collective action from industry, governments, multilateral organizations, and civil society to work together to fully address the rising threat of AMR.

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) provides an important opportunity to raise public awareness that AMR represents one of the greatest threats the world faces

AMR is sometimes called the “silent tsunami”, as it has not yet received the attention it deserves but continues to inexorably rise.

The facts:

  • In 2019, almost 5 million deaths were associated with AMR, more than all other causes of death other than heart disease and stroke.
  • Alarming levels of drug-resistant infections have been reported in humans and animals in countries of all income brackets.
  • AMR poses a formidable challenge to the global economy, with significant risks for sustainable food production and global trade.
Image: bacteria closeup

Mitigating AMR: Strategies and Imperative Actions

AMR can’t be fully stopped, but there is knowledge on how to slow down AMR and help public health systems get ahead of it. This can be done by implementing evidence-based policies such as antimicrobial stewardship programs, which help ensure antimicrobials are only used when they are truly needed, as well as preventative vaccination that can help limit the need to prescribe antimicrobial medicines.

However, completely overcoming AMR solely through stewardship is not feasible. It is necessary to complement these efforts with a robust and diverse pipeline of new antimicrobials under development to ensure effective treatments against the increasing rates of resistance to existing medicines.

Shortage of New Antimicrobials: Commercial Challenges and Declining Investment

Unfortunately, the general pipeline of new antimicrobials is woefully inadequate to address both current and future AMR threats. Relatively few are in development today due to a confluence of unique challenges that make antibiotics commercially unsustainable. As a result, investment into new antimicrobials has declined significantly, with many companies exiting this space. Those that remain struggle to remain commercially sustainable, and several biotech’s with approved antibiotics meeting unmet AMR needs have filed for bankruptcy.

MSD’s pioneering role and the AMR Action Fund

For over a century, MSD has played a leading role in combating AMR, not only discovering and developing a range of medicines and vaccines that treat and prevent infectious diseases in humans and animals. As one of the last large pharmaceutical companies committed to addressing AMR, MSD sees the urgency to find solutions to the market failures for novel antimicrobial medicines to drive antimicrobial innovation.

Recognizing the need to buy time for governments around the world to advance policy solutions to these market failures, in 2020 MSD joined a group of 20 leading biopharmaceutical companies to launch the $1B AMR Action Fund. This groundbreaking partnership aims to bring two to four new antimicrobials to patients by 2030.

As a lead investor, MSD has committed $100 million over 10 years to help bridge the gap between the antimicrobial pipeline and patients. But the Fund is a temporary and time-limited bridge that will only work if governments make the necessary reforms to create a sustainable market.

MSD is also working with industry partners, governments, health care providers, and others to support AMR surveillance, promote appropriate use, and prevent infections through vaccination through a One Health approach.

  • MSD maintains one of the world’s largest and longest running AMR surveillance study, the Study for Monitoring Antimicrobial Resistance Trends (SMART). Launched in 2002, SMART enables researchers to monitor the susceptibility of bacteria to antimicrobials and identify trends in the development of resistance.
  • Dedicated to preserving and improving the health and wellbeing of animals, MSD is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of animal vaccines, producing over 102 billion doses per year to help prevent infections that may require the use of antimicrobials.
  • Recognizing the critical role for antimicrobial stewardship to slow the development of resistance, MSD has collaborated with over 1,100 hospitals in 28 countries as an antimicrobial stewardship resource and partner to create patient-centric, product-agnostic stewardship programs around the world.

CH-NON-02483, 11/2023


What we do to support Lung Cancer Awareness Month

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. A month dedicated to those affected and to raising public awareness about the causes, early detection and prevention of the disease. Did you know lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide? At MSD, we are committed to fighting lung cancer and improving cancer care. Learn how we support Lung Cancer Awareness Month.


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Lung cancer awareness

In Switzerland around 4,800 people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year and about 3,300 die from it. Almost all new patients are over 50 years of age at the time of diagnosis. Most lung cancers do not cause any symptoms until they have spread. Therefore, they are often diagnosed at a late stage. If the cancer has already spread outside the lungs, the prognosis for patients is very poor. But because of new effective treatments, this is changing. Many people think a lung cancer diagnosis is a death sentence. However, over the past decade, new advancements have been made, which have led to more survivors and more hope for those facing the disease.

At MSD, we show solidarity for those affected and continue to push for progress in cancer care.”

Despite how common lung cancer is, there are still many misconceptions about the disease. That’s why we support various initiatives to raise awareness!

Website for lung cancer patients

The website on the MSD Patient Portal provides detailed information on the main types of lung cancer, diagnosis and treatment options, answers to the most frequent questions and information on where patients can get advice and support.
In addition, lung cancer patients can download various checklists with questions to help them prepare for their next doctor’s appointment.

Visit the MSD Patient Portal (in German, French, Italian)

Image: lung cancer website in the MSD patient portal
Image: public event on lung cancer

Public event about lung cancer

As part of Lung Cancer Awareness Month in November, we would like to draw attention to the topic of lung cancer, raise awareness of the disease and highlight the importance of early detection.

In this respect, we are co-sponsoring a public event on November 2, 2023 in Zurich.

You are cordially invited to attend.

Find out more (in German)

Online lung check

In many cases, lung cancer is only discovered at an advanced stage. This may be because the signs and symptoms are also typical of other diseases and are not immediately associated with lung cancer.

Do you know the symptoms of lung cancer? Do you have symptoms that you should have checked out by a doctor?

Take the online lung check! (in German, French and Italian)

Image: online lung check

About our clinical research in Oncology

Did you know that MSD operates one of the world’s largest and fastest growing clinical research programs in oncology? It currently includes more than 1,600 clinical trials. Switzerland is part of this research program. Our team currently coordinates 34 clinical trials in different tumor types (as of 10/2023). MSD is also one of the leading companies in the research of vaccines against preventable diseases, such as cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers. In Switzerland, we collaborate with various partners to advance innovative solutions in cancer treatment. In recent years, we have made an important contribution to improving treatment options for cancer patients.

Find out more about our work here.

CH-NON-01949, 10/2023

Our team

In October we support Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know breast cancer is the most common cancer in women? At MSD, we show solidarity with those facing breast cancer and do everything we can to support further advances to help fighting the disease. Especially during Breast Cancer Awareness Month October we support various activities to educate about the importance of prevention and early detection. Learn more about our commitment.


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Banner: MSD supports Breast Cancer Awareness Month October

In Switzerland, around 6,500 women and 50 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. Although new therapies have improved the prognosis of patients with breast cancer, around 1400 people still die from the disease in Switzerland every year.

“We stand united for the mothers, sisters, daughters and loved ones impacted by breast cancer and do everything we can to drive further innovation to help save and improve lives.”

As with many other cancers, the earlier breast cancer is detected, the better the chances of a cure. That’s why we support various initiatives to raise awareness!

Awareness campaign in the Pink Cube

In October, we support the awareness campaign “Sag Nein zu Brustkrebs, sag Ja zur Früherkennung! ” (Say no to breast cancer, say yes to early detection) in partnership with EUROPA DONNA Switzerland and the sponsors GILEAD and AstraZeneca.

On 8 days in October, the pink container “Pink Cube” will be located in Liestal, Chur, Baden and Zurich, where gynecologists will offer interested visitors free consultations and breast examinations. Everyone is invited to visit the Pink Cube.

Find out more here

Banner: Pink Cube Campaign 2023
Banner: website about breast cancer

Website about breast cancer

Just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month October, we have expanded our patient portal MSD Gesundheit with information about breast cancer. The website provides detailed information about the disease including risks and options for prevention, early detection and treatment of breast cancer.

In addition, the website offers answers to the most frequently asked questions about breast cancer and information on where affected people can get advice and support.

Visit the MSD Patient Portal

Pink Ribbon Charity Walk

A feelgood moment for our colleagues with more than 50 MSD Switzerland team members taking part in the Pink Ribbon Charity Walk. 

The solidarity walk celebrates survivors, remembers those that we have lost, raises awareness, and much-needed funds to work towards the vision of zero deaths from breast cancer.

Our collective total distance was 208 km! It wasn’t just the Oncology team members, we were there as a cross-functional MSD team showing our joint commitment to fight breast cancer together.

MSD employees at the Pink Ribbon Charity Walk

Facts about breast cancer you should know

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, accounting for nearly one-third of all cancer diagnoses. In Switzerland, about 6,500 women and 50 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year and around 1,410 people die from it each year. The rate of disease increases with age. Nevertheless, a quarter of all patients are younger than 50 at the time of diagnosis. Breast self-examination is one of the easiest breast cancer detection methods that every person should do. For women over 50, mammography is recommended to detect breast cancer at an early stage.
The earlier breast cancer is detected and treated, the better the chances of cure. That’s the message we want to get across to everyone!

About our clinical research in Oncology

Did you know that MSD operates one of the world’s largest and fastest growing clinical research programs in oncology? It currently includes more than 1,600 clinical trials. Switzerland is part of this research program. Our team currently coordinates 34 clinical trials in different tumor types (as of 10/2023). MSD is also one of the leading companies in the research of vaccines against preventable diseases, such as cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers. In Switzerland, we collaborate with various partners to advance innovative solutions in cancer treatment. In recent years, we have made an important contribution to improving treatment options for cancer patients.

Find out more about our work here.

CH-NON-01897, 10/2023

Our team

Volunteering? A point of honor for us at MSD

Did you know that MSD employees can use 40 hours of paid working time each year to volunteer in various projects? Here you can find out how this can look like.

13 October 2023

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Picture: Volunteers 2023

Clean-Up-Days in Lucerne und Zurich

Every year, our employees support voluntary activities for their communities. The Clean-Up-Days in Lucerne and Zurich, organized together with the IG Sauber Umwelt (IGSU), are an example of such a volunteering opportunity.

Employees from all five MSD Switzerland locations were invited to roll up their sleeves on two days and help to rid the cities of Lucerne and Zurich of waste. A team of over 50 employees gathered to work together for this good cause.

«We have collected over 68 kg of waste and disposed of it correctly!»

Anabel D., MSD employee at the Citybay location, Lucerne

Picture: MSD employees in action
MSD employees in action
Picture: 2.5 kg of cigarette butts collected
2.5 kg of cigarette butts collected
Picture: Clean-Up-Days in Lucerne and Zurich
Clean-Up-Days in Lucerne and Zurich

Why volunteering is important to us at MSD

Volunteering at MSD means get involved for worthy charitable organizations on a voluntary basis during paid working hours. Another possibility is to contribute your professional skills to international projects within the MSD Fellowship for Global Health Programs.

Our volunteer commitment is a sign of solidarity. It aims to promote a culture of social interaction, improve the living conditions of disadvantaged people and benefit the community. Simply put, with our commitment we want to help and give something back to society and our environment. Those who volunteer also take advantage of the opportunity to network with other MSD colleagues and learn or improve skills that are not part of their everyday work routine.

«The Clean-Up-Days were a great experience and an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas with colleagues from other locations.»

Rafael F., MSD employee at The Circle location, Zurich

CH-NON-02013, 10/2023

Our team

Skin cancer prevention: Lunch & Learn about «Melanoma»


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Collage Lunch&Learn Melanoma

More than 100 colleagues took the opportunity to participate in today’s Lunch & Learn, either in person or online. The following is an excerpt of what they learned.

We are committed to the fight against cancer

Switzerland is one of the countries with the highest melanoma incidence rate in the world. Although the average age at diagnosis is 65, melanoma is also one of the most common cancers in young adults under 30, especially women.

«As one of the world’s leading companies in the field of oncology, we consider our responsibility to educate people about cancer and how to prevent it.»

Picture Panos Neofytos
Panos Neofytos, AVP, International Oncology Marketing

Facts about melanoma

  • There are different forms of skin cancer. Melanoma is the most severe form.
  • Melanoma can develop not only on the skin, but also, for example, in the eye or in the mucosal membranes.
  • The main risk factor for melanoma is UV radiation with sunburn, especially during childhood and adolescence.
  • Other risk factors include among others a large number of moles, family history, genetic susceptibility and a weakened immune system.

«The earlier the diagnosis is made, the better the prognosis. It’s important to check the skin regularly.»

Picture Lynda Bellagha
Lynda Benmahammed Bellagha, MD, Regional Director Medical Affairs Oncology

Melanoma patient Werner

Werner has a so-called “hidden” melanoma. In his case, the tumor grew inward without any external signs. When he was diagnosed with melanoma, it was twelve, not five to twelve. At the Lunch & Learn, he spoke with Nadia Pellanda, Director EUCAN Oncology Policy. His story is told here (in German, French and Italian).

«Before my illness, I didn’t really know anything about melanoma.»

Nadia Pellanda interviews Werner Buri
Melanoma patient Werner and Nadia Pellanda, Director EUCAN Oncology Policy

The ABCD rule

We can actively contribute to reducing the risk of melanoma by ourselves. The most effective measure is sun protection. It is also important to check the skin regularly and to have conspicuous changes examined by a doctor. The so-called ABCD rule is a helpful support to recognize a conspicuous mole

Find out more here (in German, French and Italian)

Banner: Melanoma-Quiz

CH-NON-02365, 09/2023


Inside Schachen: a glance at our high-tech development center

Our MSD site in Schachen in the Canton of Lucerne is no ordinary site. It is a fusion of the most modern technology, innovative research and development, and an inspiring work environment.


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MSD Schachen: drone shooting

Our site in Schachen plays a key role in the development of new, innovative medicines. Since its establishment in 1976, the site has continually grown. Today, about 490 employees from 30 countries work in Schachen.

Here is what we do in Schachen:


We manufacture biotechnological active substances.

In Schachen, we have at our disposal biotechnical production on a clinical scale for producing new active substances, as well as capacities for sterile filling of new medicines.

Stainless steel bioreactor


We supply medicines for global clinical studies.

Schachen is one of only two sites in MSD’s global network that provides new medicines for clinical studies worldwide. Here, the clinical test samples are packed, labeled and then shipped to clinical sites all over the world. The strictly monitored studies show whether the new medicines are effective and safe.


We develop analytical methods for new active substances and medicines.

Analytical development is one of our main areas. In various specialized laboratories, we examine cell cultures, conduct tests with bioassays and offer everything needed to develop analysis methods for new active substances and medicines, from PCR analytics and mass spectroscopy to biochemical analyzes.


We work on analysis methods that allow a continuous production process to be seamlessly monitored and controlled.

Continuous production processes in the pharmaceutical industry are still the exception because the technical and regulatory requirements are very high.


We operate a forensic laboratory in which suspected cases of counterfeit medicines are investigated.

In Schachen, we operate one of three forensic laboratories worldwide with the goal of quickly detecting manipulations and counterfeits of MSD products. Our scientists work with the aid of analytical methods and highly specialized instruments to differentiate counterfeits from original products and, if necessary, to present the results in court as experts to support corresponding criminal prosecutions. They also work on further optimizing the counterfeit protection of MSD products worldwide.

MSD Schachen: forensic laboratory

«At the Schachen site, it’s not just a matter of the most modern technology and innovative research, but primarily about people. I am incredibly proud of our team, which works passionately and is committed to improve the lives of patients with ground-breaking discoveries and the development of new medicines. Their untiring commitment makes Schachen a place where we achieve greatness together


CH-NON-02294, 07/2023


Health protection through vaccination

Do you know diseases that vaccination can help to prevent? Here you can find out more.


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Vaccines help protect against diseases by very cleverly inducing immunity in our bodies. They present our bodies with a substance recognizable as the infection – for example a virus or bacterium constituent. This tricks the body’s immune system into producing antibodies and an immune memory, which then provide protection if exposure to the actual infection occurs. This immunity may be retained for years, decades, or even a lifetime following vaccination.

The following overview shows some diseases and infections that vaccination can help to prevent (as of June 2023):


Human papillomaviruses

Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are widespread. To date, more than 200 types of the virus are known. A distinction is made between high-risk and low-risk HPV types. The latter can cause genital warts in women and men. These are harmless but rather unsightly and annoying skin changes (nodules) in the genital area. The high-risk types can trigger forms of cancer in women and men, such as cervical cancer or vaginal, penile, anal, and throat cancers.


Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is an inflammation of the liver (jaundice), which is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). The virus is transmitted via the blood or body fluids of an infected person (e.g. sexual intercourse). Hepatitis B is highly contagious. The infection is considered to be chronic if the virus is in the blood for longer than six months. WHO estimates that two billion people are infected by the hepatitis B (HBV) virus worldwide. 257 million of these are already chronically ill; over 880,000 people die every year as a result. In Switzerland, about 44,000 people live with hepatitis B.


Pneumococcal Disease (PD)

PD is caused by a bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococcus. Pneumococcal diseases occur sporadically worldwide – outbreaks are rare. Several million people are affected each year and over one million of them die, many despite timely antibiotic treatment. The burden of disease is particularly high for infants under 2 years of age,among those aged 65 years and older and people of all ages with chronic conditions such as chronic heart disease or chronic respiratory disease. In Switzerland, there are about 1000 severe pneumococcal infections per year, mostly pneumonia, less frequently blood poisoning or meningitis. Children under two years of age and persons over 65 years of age are mainly affected. A total of around 100 people die each year, of whom around 80% are over 65 years of age.



Chickenpox is an infectious disease caused by the highly contagious varicella zoster virus (VZV). The virus causes a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness and fever. Chickenpox is most common in children but anyone who has not had chickenpox can get the disease.



Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that can occur at any age. It begins with fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, photophobia, inflammation of the oral mucosa and is often accompanied by cough, colds and sore throat. Uncomplicated cases heal quite quickly and without permanent consequences. However, there is a risk of complications such as brain inflammation (encephalitis; 1 per 1000 cases), pneumonia (measles pneumonia; 10 to 60 per 1000 cases) or middle ear inflammation (otitis media). Sometimes measles complications lead to death.



Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. It typically starts with headache, discomfort and fever, followed by the characteristic swelling of the parotid glands. Mumps is generally a mild children’s disease that mainly affects children between the ages of five and nine. However, adults can also become infected with mumps, which can be associated with serious complications.



Rubella is a contagious, generally mild viral infection that occurs most often in children and young adults. While the illness is generally mild in children, it has serious consequences in pregnant women causing fetal death or congenital defects known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). The rubella virus is transmitted by airborne droplets when infected people sneeze or cough. Humans are the only known host.

More information on protecting health through vaccinations: BAG Vaccinations & Prophylaxis

CH-NON-01256, 07/2023

Infectious Diseases

Our commitment to the fight against COVID-19

As a company with a long legacy of research in vaccines and infectious diseases, we’ve been committed to advancing an effective response to COVID-19 since it was first discovered.


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Covid-19 Header

«We’ve been focused on contributing our scientific expertise and experience to help address COVID-19.»


Our oral antiviral COVID-19 medicine

In collaboration with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, we have advanced our research and development efforts for our COVID-19 medicine, making an important contribution to the care of COVID-19 patients.

We are working with health authorities to make our therapeutic option available worldwide.


Access to health care

We have a long track record of making our medicines and vaccines accessible and affordable. Our comprehensive supply and access strategy has enabled timely and broad access to our COVID-19 medicine for patients around the world, including in low- and middle-income countries. 

We have also provided UNICEF with up to 3 million treatment units for low- and middle-income countries.

Through our licensing agreements with generics manufacturers and the Medicines Patent Pool, more than 5 million courses of generic therapy have been delivered to 22 low- and middle-income countries through December 2022.


Our commitment as an employer

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve prioritized the health, safety and well-being of our employees and their families and supported our health care providers and our communities, including through volunteer work and donation efforts.

CH-NON-01216, 06/2023

Diversity and inclusion

Women at MSD

In the company’s more than 130-year history, many women have helped shape MSD.


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Women at MSD

We introduce eight remarkable women who have paved the way for future generations.


Ann Colon,

the first woman to celebrate 50 years with MSD.

Anna “Ann” Colon started in MSD’s packaging department in 1919. She became a manager in 1933.

When she retired after more than 50 years with MSD, she was the longest-tenured female employee in the company to date.


Grace Winterling,

the first female corporate officer at MSD.

Grace Winterling began her career during World War II in the Priorities Department before taking on supervisory roles in the Systems and Procedures, Organizational Planning, and Office Services Divisions.

In 1954, she became an administrative assistant to the Corporate Secretary. She was elected to Assistant Secretary in 1957 – a role that made her the first woman to become one of the companies corporate officers. The fact that a female executive had been named was so remarkable that it made headlines in local newspapers.

After 15 years in corporate leadership, Grace was named president of the company’s Foundation, which continues continues to fund qualified, eligible nonprofit and philanthropic organizations today. Grace retired in 1983 after 40 years with MSD.


Susan Jenkins,

the first african-american female chemist at MSD.

Susan R. Jenkins started at MSD Research Laboratories (MRL) in 1957 as one of the first African-American female chemists in the company, working on synthesizing enzymes, in addition to other activities.

She later moved to Human Resources, where she held various leadership positions, most recently as Senior Vice President of Human Resources.


Marian S. Heiskell,

MSD’s first woman elected to Board of Directors.

Marian S. Heiskell, Director of Special Activities at the New York Times Company, became the first woman elected to MSD’s Board of Directors in 1973.

She retained her seat on the Board for 18 years until she stepped down in 1991. Marian Heiskell was a well-known philanthropist and newspaper executive and died in 2019 at the age of 100.


Dorothy Bowers,

MSD’s first vice president of environmental and safety policy.

Dorothy Bowers joined MSD in 1974 as an engineer in the Environmental Department.

In 1982, she was promoted to Senior Director of Environmental Control. 10 years later, she was appointed to the newly created position of Vice President of Environmental and Safety Policy. Committed to ensuring our company was a leader in protecting the environment, Dorothy spearheaded numerous processes for reducing the company’s emissions and chemical releases, making MSD a model for the industry as one of the first companies to publicly commit to pollution reductions.

By 1999, after 25 years with the company, Dorothy had helped elevate environment protection to be among our highest business priorities before her retirement.


Christine Stubbs,

the first woman to earn a chemical engineering degree from Howard University.

Christine “Chris” Stubbs began working at MSD in 1983 as the first woman to earn an engineering degree from Howard University.

From then, she was one of the company’s most active employees in promoting equal opportunity. After 10 years with MSD, Chris managed materials logistics at the Flint River manufacturing facility in Albany, Georgia, where she supervised 31 employees. This alone was impressive, but it was her additional work promoting diversity that earned her recognition as one of the 1993 Black Engineers of the Year from US Black Engineer magazine.


Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole,

the first african-american female board member at MSD.

Dr. Cole joined the MSD Board of Directors in 1994 and retained the seat until 2009.

She was also the first African-American president of the prestigious Spelman College for African-American Women and also the first African-American woman on the Board of Directors at the Coca-Cola Company.

As early as 1997, Dr. Cole asserted that diversity was a smart investment for businesses, most notably stating, “Let’s address the question as to whether diversity in the American workforce is the right thing to do or the smart thing to do. The answer is: it is both.” 


Deborah Dagit,

MSD’s first Chief Diversity Officer.

Deborah Dagit worked as MSD’s first Diversity Officer for 12 years.

Deb, who had been instrumental in getting the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act passed by Congress, helped our company tie diversity and inclusion initiatives directly to the company’s business practices and results. In 2010, she established MSD’s employee business resource groups (EBRGs) that are still active today. Deb retired from our company in December 2012.

We promote innovation through diversity and inclusion

Worldwide, MSD promotes a working environment with the aim of making people feel comfortable regardless of culture, age, sexual orientation or gender. Diversity and inclusion have been an integral part of the corporate culture for many years. This is also reflected in the numbers e.g., around 50% of those who fill management positions in Switzerland and worldwide are women.

MSD Women’s Network

In 1995, a group of female MSD employees in the USA got together to found the MSD Women’s Network. The network is committed to gender equity. It now has 57 chapters worldwide and over 9,000 members, both women and men.

In Switzerland, around 400 employees are involved with the MSD Women’s Network.

MSD as an employer

Would you like to work with us to further develop our medicines and healthcare solutions, to continuously improve medical care and to bring inspiration to new generations? Become part of our team!

To the MSD job portal

CH-NON-02261, 06/2023


Dr. Maurice Hilleman: “The father of modern vaccines”


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Vaccines are part of MSD’s history and are closely associated with Dr. Maurice Hilleman (1919-2005), the father of modern vaccine science. During his nearly 30-year career at MSD, he developed more than 40 vaccines for humans and animals. This legacy continues today thanks to our dedicated researchers.

The story of modern day vaccines began in 1796 when Dr. Edward Jenner inoculated 8-year-old James Phipps with cowpox as a way to protect him from smallpox. Jenner used the term “vaccination,” “vacca” being Latin for “cow.” In fact, it has been recognized for centuries that some diseases never reinfect a person after recovery. Smallpox was the first disease people tried to prevent by intentionally inoculating themselves with infected matter.

Dr. Edward Jenner inoculating 8-year-old James Phipps with cowpox.

Eight decades after Jenner published his findings, Louis Pasteur developed the first live attenuated bacterial vaccine. Attenuation is a process that weakens the bacteria or virus in a vaccine so it is less likely to cause disease, while still triggering an immune response similar to the natural infection. It would take many more decades for advances in basic and clinical research to make it possible for scientists to understand viruses well enough to begin developing vaccines that help protect against viral diseases.

primary article image


The scientists who made giant strides in the fight against viral diseases included Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin. Dr. Maurice Hilleman, who led MSD’s Department of Virus and Cell Biology from 1956 to 1984, also belonged to that distinguished group of vaccine pioneers. Credited with helping to develop more than forty vaccines, Dr. Hilleman’s passionate commitment continues to inspire scientists in medical research laboratories to this day.

Dr. Hilleman was born and raised on a farm in Montana. It was a hard life, but a farm background was a great foundation for his later work. “When you are brought up on a farm, you have a lot of general knowledge,” he said. After graduating from the University of Chicago with a doctorate in microbiology and chemistry, Hilleman chose to work at a pharmaceutical company instead of academia.

Despite his many accomplishments, including helping to develop more than 40 human and animal vaccines, Dr. Maurice Hilleman’s name is virtually unknown by the general public and press. Yet his impact on public health is undeniable.

"Since Pasteur, he's done more for preventive medicine than anyone else."

Dale C. Smith

Chief historian at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD

"His commitment was to make something useful and convert it to clinical use. Maurice's genius was in developing vaccines, reliably reproducing them, and he was in charge of all pharmaceutical facets from research to the marketplace."

Paul Offit

Chief of infectious diseases, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Hilleman's biographer

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan awarded the National Medal of Science to Dr. Hilleman, and in 1997, he was honored with The Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has called Dr. Hilleman one of the true giants of science, medicine and public health in the 20th century.

CH-NON-01259, 05/2023