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Merck Canada | Prescription Products | Vaccines | Animal Health Products | Research | Service to the Community | History

Merck Canada


Merck plays a major role in the global pharmaceutical industry as it carries out its mission to discover, develop and provide innovative products and services that save and improve lives around the world. Its diverse offerings encompass prescription pharmaceuticals, vaccines, biologic therapies, and animal health products.

In Canada, Merck Canada Inc. markets more than 250 prescription pharmaceuticals and animal health products. It is a leader in or achieving leadership status in the areas of cardiovascular, diabetes, immunology, infectious diseases, oncology, respiratory, vaccines and women’s health. It is dedicated to serving the unmet medical needs of Canadians.

In 2014 Merck employed approximately 975 people in Canada.


Prescription Products


Merck markets more than 40 prescription products in therapeutic areas such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, oncology, neuroscience, infectious disease and women’s health.

Among these products are Januvia® (sitagliptin) and Janumet™ (sitagliptin/metformin hydrochloride HCI) for type 2 diabetes, Singulair® (montelukast sodium) for chronic treatment of asthma, Isentress® (raltegravir) for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in combination with other pharmaceuticals, Victrelis™ (boceprevir) for treating chronic hepatitis C, and Cozaar® and Hyzaar® for treating hypertension. Singulair® was discovered and developed by Merck in Canada, receiving approval for commercialization in this country in 1998.


Vaccines

Merck continues to dedicate itself to the research and production of vaccines. Over the years it has produced vaccines which have controlled diseases to the point that they have become rare. It continues its work by introducing vaccines for diseases such as shingles and cervical cancer which were not believed to be preventable.

Among Merck’s vaccines are Gardasil® for preventing certain diseases caused by four types of human papillomavirus, RotaTeq® for protecting infants and children against rotavirus gastroenteritis, and Pneumovax® for the prevention of pneumococcal disease.


Animal Health Products


Merck’s animal health products address infectious diseases, inflammatory diseases, parasites, fertility management, production efficiency, and other health issues pertaining to domestic and farm animals. A broad choice of vaccines is also offered.

Products include Nuflor® antibiotics for cattle and swine, Vista® vaccine lines for infectious diseases in cattle, Zilmax™ and Revalor® for the improvement of production efficiencies in beef cattle, Innovax® vaccine lines for poultry, Nobivac® for cat vaccination, Panacur® de-wormer for horses and dogs, Safe-Guard™ de-wormer for cattle, and Slice® parasiticide for sea lice in salmon.


Research


Merck has a long research tradition and Charles E. Frosst Canada & Co., which Merck acquired in 1965, had a long history as an innovator in the Canadian pharmaceuticals industry

Today Merck maintains its commitment to accelerating innovation in the Canadian life sciences industry by investing in research collaborations with academia and industry. These collaborations supplement its own internal research programs at the global level.

In 2013 the Company provided $4 million to the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer — Commercialization of Research (IRICoR) in Montréal. Funding is being shared by IRICoR and two Canadian Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research and is earmarked for use in identifying, developing and commercializing technologies in healthcare.

In 2015 Merck contributed $7.5 million to and became a member of the Structural Genomics Consortium Toronto and its network. Funded projects focus on research to develop small inhibitory molecules called chemical probes to study epigenetic mechanisms of regulation. These probes will advance the understanding of biology in a number of disease areas, particularly cancer and inflammatory diseases.


Service to the Community


Community Day is an opportunity for Merck Canada employees to offer their services to community-focused, non-profit organizations across Canada. Through their efforts, employees engage in community projects which benefit those in need in the communities which employees call home. In 2012, for the third year, Merck Canada employees volunteered at a diverse group of organizations and engaged in tasks such as painting, cleaning up, and collecting and sorting supplies.

Community Day is connected to another of Merck’s commitments, the Merck for Mothers initiative to work for a world in which no woman dies from the complications of pregnancy and childbirth. As part of this commitment, a number of Merck Canada employees spent their Community Day at Health Partners International of Canada in Mississauga, Ontario, where they assembled “Physician Travel Packs”. These packs contain essential medicines and medical supplies which enable physicians working in developing countries to treat up to 600 children and adults.


History


In November 2009 Merck Frosst Canada Ltd. and Schering-Plough Canada Inc., two major players in the Canadian pharmaceutical industry, came together to form what would become Merck Canada Inc. This business combination reflected the combination of their respective parent companies, Merck & Co., Inc. and Schering-Plough Corporation, at that time.

Merck Frosst Canada Ltd. traced its corporate history to a pharmaceutical company founded by Charles E. Frosst in Montréal in 1899. Charles E. Frosst & Co. initially manufactured conventional remedies of the day such as cough syrup and tonics.

Two of Frosst’s most significant products were the analgesic tablets 217® (acetylsalicylic acid + caffeine) and 222® (acetylsalicylic acid + caffeine + codeine). These products were introduced in 1910 and remained popular for three-quarters of a century. They also established his firm’s expertise in inflammation and pain. This expertise would be demonstrated over the decades with other medications such as INDOCID® (indomethacin), DOLOBID® (diflunisal), CLINORIL® (sulindac) and ENTROPHEN® (acetylsalicylic acid).

As the years went by, the firm developed a reputation for innovation. During the 1940's, it became a pioneer in nuclear medicine in Canada by developing the country’s first radioactive pharmaceutical products.

In 1965 Charles E. Frosst & Co. was acquired by Merck & Co., Inc. of New Jersey.

The acquirer was a pharmaceutical enterprise with roots stretching back through time to the Merck family’s entry into the pharmaceutical business in Darmstadt, Germany in 1668. George Merck extended the family business to the New World when he arrived in the United States in 1891. In 1911 his firm, Merck & Co., set up a Canadian branch in Montréal to import and sell pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals, and added a manufacturing operation in 1930.

Like Frosst’s firm, Merck & Co. was an innovative pharmaceutical company. It began producing Vitamin B1 in 1940 and penicillin in 1944. Its research into vitamins led to discoveries in sulfa drugs, penicillins and corticosteroids. It undertook pioneering work in nuclear medicines at the request of the National Research Council for the production of specialty compounds to be used as tracers in the study of chemicals and biological processes.

In 1955 Merck & Co.’s Canadian operations amalgamated with the Canadian operations of drug manufacturer Sharp & Dohme, which Merck & Co. had acquired in 1953. In 1961 the amalgamated company took the name Merck Sharp & Dohme Canada Limited and set up its headquarters in Montréal.

When Charles E. Frosst & Co. was acquired in 1965, it joined Merck Sharp & Dohme Canada Limited as Merck & Co.’s second operating subsidiary in Canada. In 1968 Merck Frosst Laboratories was created to act as the Canadian service company to the two subsidiaries. In 1982 a corporate restructuring resulted in all three businesses being combined into one fully-integrated pharmaceutical company under the name Merck Frosst Canada Inc., later Merck Frosst Canada Ltd.

For its part, Schering Canada was founded in 1926 in Montréal. It began as the Canadian pharmaceutical sales operation of parent company Schering AG, based in Germany. Schering AG established its U.S. subsidiary, Schering Corporation, two years later.

Initially, product sales were Schering Canada’s only responsibility. In 1940 the company moved to a larger Montréal facility, where it began manufacturing operations. There was a further relocation within Montréal in 1953, and finally a move to Pointe-Claire in 1961. These moves allowed the company to integrate manufacturing and distribution operations on a larger scale. A change of ownership led to Schering Canada becoming a subsidiary of Schering Corporation.


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