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Merck & Co. traces its history back to 1668 Germany when Friedrich Jacob Merck purchased the “Angel Pharmacy” in Darmstadt. In the early 1800s, (Heinrich) Emmanuel Merck turned the business to the manufacture of morphine, codeine, and cocaine. E. Merck AG (today’s Merck KG&A, still in Germany) was split into an American division in the 1880s after Merck agent Theodore Weicker set up a sales office and was joined by George Merck. The men purchased a 150-acre site in Rahway, New Jersey and built a production plant that included 4 divisions and a flock of “test” sheep.

1899 –  the company published the first Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, called by the New York Times, “the most widely used medical text in the world”

1917 – George Merck voluntarily surrendered substantial company stock to the Alien Property Custodian during WWI which was resold on the American exchange, technically breaking ties with Merck AG 

1925 – son, George W. Merck took control of the company as president.

1927 – Merck & Co. merges with Powers-Weightman-Rosengarten and adds “Inc.” to its name

1933 – expanded capital enables newly endowed R&D, Merck builds laboratories and hires prominent chemists and biologists (its the peak of The Great Depression)

1941 – G.W. Merck is inducted into the Army Epidemiological Board as an officer and placed in charge of the War Research Service at Fort Detrick –the US biological warfare program. During the war Merck-sponsored research achieves breakthrough medicines with streptomycin (Albert Schatz and Selman Waxman) and cortisone drugs.

1953 – merger with Sharp & Dohme, a Baltimore apothecary established in 1845

1957 – George W. Merck dies, The Merck Company Foundation is established as well as the Merck Family Fund.

1965 – CEO Henry W. Gadsen diversifies the company into water treatment (with acquisition of Calgon Corp.) and specialty chemicals with Kelco.

1975 – Merck was investigated by the SEC for making payoffs to overseas distributors to favor its products

1985 – Vasotec, congestive heart failure med, becomes Merck’s first blockbuster Billion-dollar (annual) product

1993 – Merck acquired Medco Containment Service Inc., a mail-order pharmacy, and its president Martin Wygod; renamed Merck-Medco Managed Care, it became the largest internet pharmacy

1994 – under new leadership, CEO Raymond V. Gilmartin, sold off non-core divisions and strengthened Merck’s pharmaceutical holdings and partnerships which included a substantial interest in veterinary pharm Merial, a joint venture with  Rhone-Poulenc of France (Aventis S.A.)


Johann Heinrich Merck (1741-1791) was an art historian, literary critic and Hessian military counselor as well as a pharmacist. In 1771 he met Goethe and introduced him into literary society. Beset with financial troubles in 1788, and the loss of five of his children, Merck committed suicide.Reference, and  (link to Merck KG&A)

Emmanuel Merck (Heinrich Emmanuel Merck), grandson of Johann, and grandfather of American-born George W. Merck, took over the pharmacy in 1816 and gave the company his name, E. Merck AG, and turned the business to the production of specialty drugs. Of his three sons; Carl, Georg, and Wilhelm, it was ‘George’ who came to the US.

                                       __________________________________________, excerpt below:

The Ancient Tradition is seen in works of art (e.g. in paintings of Poussin and Guercino and Rene’ d’Anjou) as the river Alphaeos in beautiful Arcadia, where its course often remains underground or in deep gorges or ravines and from where in the days of the end it shall come forth according to prophecy.

Its name hints at its source, the Alpha and Omega who is the well-spring of this water of life – which also is called the Wisdom of the Just (Lk. 1:17). It is the antipode to classicism, to the heritage of Hellas and Rome which does not know the Name of the LORD. The prime source of the Wisdom of the Just is in the creation record of Genesis as shown in the main section of this treatise.

This wisdom was preserved through the ages – besides by Jewish alchemists – by the members of the pietist, or charitable societies, who followed James 1:27, “to visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world”. Now in order to visit, or more correctly, to oversee those afflicted with illness, they knew that they must have the knowledge of the mysteries, for because of the expenses and the horrors of the secular treatments (which has not changed much today as the devastations of orthodox medical cancer treatment show, see also Mk.5:26) they had decided to heal the sick themselves.

So they called upon heaven for this knowledge and searched and studied, and their calling and efforts were answered. For they bad kept themselves unspotted from the world by avoiding the snares of greed and fame of the wise and prudent, and they would receive the secrets of eternity.

Goethe, the German philosopher-poet, writes in his eighth book of “Dichtung Und Wahrheit”, and also in his diary, how he was cured almost in an instant when he was close to death from advanced pulmonary consumption and from a painful and feverish abdominal infection (apparently an appendicitis) by a Dr. Metz, whom he refers to as “also one of the pious”. This was over two hundred years ago.

At that time about twenty years old, Goethe and his friend, Johann Heinrich Merck, a pharmacist who founded the Merck pharmaceutical firm, then were invited to join the society of the pious. They played around with this idea, and Goethe relates some of the society’s elementary teachings. Yet, at last they lacked the resolve to go on. Only much later did they realize the relevance of this matter and set out to search for it. But its source, their friends of the society, all were in their graves.


Merck CEO

Raymond V. Gilmartin joined Merck & Co., Inc., in June 1994 as president and chief executive officer. He was named to the additional post of chairman of the board in November 1994. Prior to joining Merck, Mr. Gilmartin was chairman, president and chief executive officer of Becton Dickinson and Company. He joined the company in 1976 as vice president, strategic planning, taking on positions of increasing responsibility over the next 18 years. An active participant in health industry affairs, Mr. Gilmartin is chairman of the Healthcare Institute of New Jersey, and a past chairman of the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, now serving on its executive committee. He is a trustee of the Healthcare Leadership Council, a group dedicated to excellence in America’s health care system, and he is chairman of Valley Health System, Inc. Mr. Gilmartin also serves as chairman of the Council on Competitiveness and the board of associates of the Harvard Business School. He is a director of The College Fund/UNCF, and a member of the Business Roundtable, the Business Council, and the Council on Competitiveness. He also serves on the boards of directors of General Mills, Inc. and the Public Service Enterprise Group, Inc. Mr. Gilmartin received a B.S. in electrical engineering from Union College in 1963. He received an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1968.
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Written by citizen2009

November 16, 2009 at 10:51 pm

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