Pharmaceutical Industry and E. Merck Ag

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Historical background of the business
Today Merck & Co, Inc. is one of the most recognizable companies in the pharmaceutical industry. When asked about Merck, most people think that it is and always has been a US company. However, the company’s history can be traced all the way back to the 1600’s where it was started in Darmstadt, Germany. Friedrich Jacob Merck purchased a local store in 1668 where he prepared and sold medicines. The store was called “At the sign of the Angels” and would remain in the Merck family for many generations (Merck & co., 2000). In 1827, Heinrich Emmanuel Merck and renamed E. MERCK AG transformed the store into a drug manufacturer. The pharmacy was so successful that by 1855 E. Merck AG was selling medications worldwide. It was at this time that Merck decided to send a company officer to the United States to set up a sales office. Once in the U.S. in 1899, Heinrich’s grandson George Merck bought one hundred and fifty acres in Rahway, New Jersey. A couple of years later, in 1903, Merck started production in its new U.S. headquarters. By this time Merck was not just producing drugs, it was also starting to produce different types of chemicals and there was also a research lab. When the United States entered World War I in 1917, George Merck, fearing that Germany would win the war and take over his company, sold all of his stock to a US company named Alien Property Custodian (Merck & Co., 2000). This ended all of Merck’s ties to Germany. After the war, George Merck regained a controlling share of the company in 1919 and from that day forward Merck has always been a publicly owned company. George Merck continued to grow the company until his death in 1926 at which time his son, George W. Merck took over. In 1926, George W. Merck decided to merge the company with Powers-Weightman-Rosengarten, which was a Philadelphia, based pharmaceutical company. In 1927 the company was officially incorporated and renamed Merck & Co. Inc. This merger gave George W. Merck the capital he needed to recruit new chemists and biologists, which lead to the discovery of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 was a huge success, but because the war had been over for several years, new foreign companies were continually underselling Merck. With no new products in sight, George W. Merck decided to merge with a Baltimore company by the name of Sharp & Dohme, Inc. This merger was believed to have saved Merck from going under; it gave Merck new marketing facilities and a new distribution network, which it desperately needed. By the time George W. Merck died in 1957, the company had hit the one hundred million dollar mark. Not only was the dollar mark significant, George’s death marked the last time a Merck family member would ever be in control. From the 60’s on, Merck continued to raise its market share taking advantage of its research and development, which continually produced new and popular drugs every year. Today Merck employs over fifty five thousand people and produces some of the most well known pharmaceutical products on the market. With profits totaling a little fewer than six billion dollars and annual sales of over twelve and half billion dollars, Merck is considered one of the best pharmaceutical companies in the world. Products

Throughout the years, Merck has made itself a reputation for developing high quality products that consumers know will work. The drugs are developed to help with all different types of problems. Some medicines are used for every day symptoms like a stuffed up nose and some are used for more serious illnesses like the treatment of HIV. Since Merck & Co., Inc. was founded; it has always made a point to have an above average research and development program so that it could appeal to a wide variety of consumers no matter what symptoms they were trying to cure. Some of the first products ever distributed by Merck in the 1820’s were morphine, codeine and...
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