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Nebojša Škuljec, Director, Merck Sharp & Dohme

Innovative Medicines Will Save the World

Merck Sharp & Dohme is one of the top American biopharmaceutical company, a global leader in providing innovative solutions in medicines, vaccines and biologic drugs. In the US, MSD celebrates its 130th anniversary; in Serbia, 23 years of business operations

Merck Sharp & Dohme – MSD’s scientists continue to work relentlessly to find solutions for many of the world’s most devastating diseases, pushing the boundaries of science with the hope that the medicines we invent will lead to better health for society and generations to come.

Merck Sharp & Dohme is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies dedicated to identifying and introducing new medicines, vaccines and biological therapies. What is the global meaning of your slogan “Inventing for Life”?

– MSD is one of the top American biopharmaceutical companies, a global leader in providing innovative solutions in medicines, vaccines and biologic drugs. While MSD celebrates its 130th anniversary globally, in Serbia we’re proud to mark 23 years of business operations, commitment to the Serbian healthcare system, and patients. This also includes philanthropic and CSR activities reaching a market value of over $30 million in spending in Serbia.

For more than a century, MSD has been inventing medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. It means that 125 million children who would have died from measles were given a chance to live; 110 million people live without fear of river blindness; the second generation of people with HIV live full lives, and we are raising new generations who will never know anyone with tuberculosis, hopefully, one day also with cervical cancer.

Through Merck for Mothers, our flagship CSR initiative through which MSD has committed investment of over $500 million, we’re helping to improve the health and well-being of mothers during pregnancy and childbirth, helping to make sure that giving life is safer.

At MSD Serbia, we are focusing our efforts on telling the story of our medical inventions and making them accessible to our patients

Global HealthCare ranked your immunological therapy as number one among the Top 10 most promising life-saving medicines a few years ago. Are you working on other discoveries of equal importance?

– Immuno-oncology (IO) is one of the fastest-growing therapeutic areas in the pharmaceutical sector. Therefore, IO is expected to become backbone treatment for numerous tumour types. One of the greatest advances that we’re already witnessing is in the increased survival rate of patients with advanced malignant melanoma and lung cancer, who now have the chance to live longer with great quality of life.

MSD Serbia has initiated a medical program worth $10 million for the treatment of 70 patients with lung cancer in Serbia, allowing 70% of them to survive the first year of treatment.

In addition to our research in the field of oncology, as the fastest-growing in the industry, we’re committed to bringing an Ebola vaccine to market, and we remain one of the few companies still committed to studying antibiotics. MSD was also among the first to discover and develop medicines for the treatment of HIV, a vital step in making HIV a survivable condition, and we’ve remained at the forefront of HIV research.

As the representative of a major U.S. pharmaceutical company, you head the Health Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce, which advocates the introduction of numerous innovative therapies to Serbia. How would you rate your cooperation with the Serbian Health Ministry?

– We are actively engaged in several trade associations where AmCham is one of the key stakeholders for enabling active dialogue between the public and private sectors. The main topic in these discussions is the need for improvement in access to innovative medicines, where Serbia is still lagging behind European countries. Nevertheless, we remain confident that the Ministry of Health and the Health Insurance Fund, both of which recognize the importance of this issue, will find a sustainable solution in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance to increase investment behind innovation.

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