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Merck & Co. Inc., a large U.S. public pharmaceutical company, has faced several important ethical and social responsibility tests over the years. Established in 1891, Merck discovers, develops, manufactures, and markets vaccines and medicines in more than 20 therapeutic categories. The company has approximately 60,000 employees and sells products in approximately 150 countries. Worldwide sales in 2005 were more than $22 billion. The firm has always had a “patient first” approach to doing business as indicated by George Merck, the son of the founder, who stated that Merck tries never to forget that medicine is for the people, not for the profits. This view is currently reflected in the company's values, which states that Merck's business is preserving and improving human life. Although the firm ...

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