默克集团是世界上历史最悠久的家族型医药化工企业，其历史可追溯到1668年药剂师弗雷德里克.雅各布. 默克（Friedrich Jacob Merck）在德国的达姆斯塔特市购买“天使药房”开始。经过三百多年的发展，默克于1995年在德国法兰克福股票交易市场上市，此后默克公司全球范围内所有的业务经营活动都是以默克股份两合公司的名义进行的。默克集团总资本的73％ 为怡.默克 (E. Merck OHG) 家族所拥有，其余由自由股东持有。 作为一个全球企业，默克的子公司遍布全球。来自61各国家的29000名员工以高度的工作热忱和周到的服务致力于产品的研发、生产和销售，努力实现着我们的理想和目标。
外界一直认为德国默克与美国默克是同一家公司。 但事实上，总部位于达姆施塔特市的德国默克集团(Merck KGaA) 与总部位于美国新泽西州Whitehouse Station的美国制药公司默沙东 (Merck & Co.) 在很久以前就毫无关联。位于达姆施塔特市的默克集团是世界上历史最悠久的医药化工公司，并且在今天依然非常成功地在医药和化工领域发展。默沙东公司在第一次世界大战之后已经成为一家安全独立的企业。我们的历史起源可以追溯到1668年，Friedrich Jacob Merck 买下了位于德国达姆施塔特市的(Darmstadt) 的 天使药房 (Engel-Apotheke)。到了 1827 年，Heinrich Emanuel Merck 开始了工业化生产大规模生产生物碱、植物萃取以及其他化学产品。由于在美国出口业务的成功开展，默克公司于1887年在纽约成立了一个分公司。1891年，Heinrich Emanuel Merck的孙子 Georg Merck 成立了默克美国分公司 Merck & Co。然而，这家分公司在1917年的第一次世界大战中被美国政府，并在战争后宣布成为独立公司默沙东。两家公司自此没有任何关联，唯一相同之处是他们共同使用默克(Merck) 这个名字。今天，在民称的使用权上，我们除了在北美洲（美国和加拿大）使用EMD外，在世界的其他地区均叫做默克（Merck）。而美国默沙东公司仅在北美被称为默克(Merck & Co.)，在世界的其他地区应使用默沙东(Merck Sharp & Dohme，MSD)这个名称。
Merck & Co., Inc. is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first. Established in 1891, Merck
Merck & Co., Inc. is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first. Established in 1891, Merck discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines to address unmet medical needs. The company devotes extensive efforts to increase access to medicines through far-reaching programs that not only donate Merck medicines but help deliver them to the people who need them. Merck also publishes unbiased health information as a not-for-profit service.
Merck KGaA (EMD Chemicals in the U.S. and Canada, FWB: MRK) is a German chemical and pharmaceutical company. Merck, also known as “German Merck” and “Merck Darmstadt”, was founded in Darmstadt, Germany, in 1668, making it one of the world's oldest operating chemical and pharmaceutical companies. The company was privately owned until going public in 1995. However, the Merck family still controls a majority of the company's shares.
Following World War I, Merck lost possession of its foreign sites, including the Merck & Co. subsidiary in the United States. Merck & Co., called Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD) outside the US and Canada, is now an independent company.
Merck KGaA operates mainly in Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and Latin America. Since Merck & Co. holds the rights to the Merck name in the U.S. and Canada, the company operates under the umbrella brand EMD Chemicals in North America, formed from the initials of Emanuel Merck, Darmstadt.
The roots of Merck reach back into the 17th Century. In 1668, Friedrich Jacob Merck, an apothecary, assumed ownership of the "Engel-Apotheke" (Angel Pharmacy) in Darmstadt, Germany.
In 1816, Emanuel Merck took over the pharmacy. Thanks to his scientific education he was successful in isolating and characterizing alkaloids in the pharmacy laboratory. He began the manufacture of these substances "in bulk" in 1827, touting them as a "Cabinet of Pharmaceutical and Chemical Innovations". He and his successors gradually built up a chemical-pharmaceutical factory that produced — in addition to raw materials for pharmaceutical preparations — a multitude of other chemicals and (from 1890) medicines.
In 1891, Georg Merck established himself in the United States and set up Merck & Co. in New York, USA. Merck & Co. was confiscated following the First World War and set up as an independent company in the United States. Today, the US company has about 106,000 employees (Nov. 2009) in 120 countries and 31 factories worldwide. It is one of the top 5 pharmaceutical companies worldwide, much larger than its German ancestor, which employs around 30,962 people in 62 countries (as of September 30, 2007).
Merck KGaA's Headquarters in Darmstadt (Germany)
The EMD Chemicals site in San Diego, California Failed Schering AG bid
On March 13, 2006, Merck announced a takeover bid for Schering AG, the world's largest producer of oral contraceptives. On March 23, 2006, Bayer AG made a supported offer for Schering and Merck decided to drop out of the bidding for the company. Schering is not to be confused with Schering-Plough which was once part of Schering AG but is now an independently operated American pharmaceutical company, itself in the process of being acquired by Merck & Co. in 2009.
Acquisition of Serono
In September 2006 the company announced a takeover bid of $13.2 billion for Serono SA, Switzerland's largest biotech firm. The deal included a buy-out of the Bertarelli family's 64.5% stake in Serono to be followed by a public tender offer for the remaining shares starting in November. The combined company has an R&D budget of approximately $1.1 billion and sales of approximately $4.6 billion. Its approximately $2 billion in sales of biologics would make it 7th among pharmaceutical/biotech companies. The new entity, Merck Serono, began operations in 2007.
After Wilhelm Adam Sertürner's isolation of morphine from opium in 1805, Merck pioneered (from 1827) the commercial manufacture of morphine for an expanding global market. From 1884 onwards, Merck also played role in the production and marketing of cocaine. Sigmund Freud, author of Über Coca (1884), was an enthusiastic collaborator in Merck's coca research, though the methodological sophistication of his self-experimentation studies has been challenged. Around World War I, Merck systematically patented many drugs including MDMA (ecstasy)  and several of its analogues, though no uses for them were given. Attention was directed at vitamins as a new product category, and Vigantol was introduced in 1927, followed by Cebion in 1934.
Following the defeat of Germany in World War II, Merck was granted permission by the military government to produce drugs, pesticides, food preservatives, reagents, and fine chemicals for laboratory use. Soon afterwards the boom commonly known as the "Wirtschaftswunder" (economic miracle) set in. For Merck this meant two-digit sales-growth figures for many years. Products of this time included corticoid preparations — for example Fortecortin, which is still used today —, the cold remedy Nasivin or the hormone preparations Gestafortin and Menova.
The focus of Merck's current pharmaceutical R&D is on oncology and cardio-metabolic care. In the former therapeutic area, its first marketed product is Erbitux (cetuximab), for which it has marketing rights worldwide, apart from North America. (Cetuximab was discovered by Imclone Systems, and is marketed in North America by Bristol-Myers Squibb.) Other products from Merck include Metformin, Bisoprolol, Levothyroxine and Digitoxin.
In the chemicals sector, work started on pearl-lustre pigments in 1957. Ten years later the company initiated its involvement in liquid crystals, leading to its market leading role today. Liquid crystals account for the bulk of Merck's profits at present.
In the area of analytical chemistry, Merck played a leading role in the development of chromatographic methods.
Price fixing settlement
Generics UK, a former British subsidiary of German drugs firm Merck (global Generics business sold by Merck October 2 2007) paid a £12m out-of-court settlement with the Department of Health over involvement in an alleged price and supply fixing cartel.
The NHS alleges various drugs companies exploited the oligopolistic market conditions, forcing the NHS to pay inflated prices. NHS fraud investigators believe there was a conspiracy to limit the supply of 30 of its most commonly prescribed drugs, including a class of penicillin antibiotics and to a generic version of best-selling ulcer treatment Zantac. The NHS has so far filed claims in relation to just three drugs, seeking damages of more than £150m, while the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is conducting a parallel investigation into the price-fixing allegations limited to the supply of blood-thinning pill warfarin and penicillin-based antibiotics. Homes and offices of executives at six firms, including Ranbaxy, Generics UK, Norton Healthcare, Goldshield and Regent-GM.were raided by the SFO in May 2002.