3R principle

The international guiding principle for all animal testing. The number of laboratory animals used as well the stress placed on them before, during and after testing are to be kept to an absolute minimum by using methods to replace animal experiments (replacement), reduce the required number of tests and animals (reduction), and improve the test methods (refinement).


The diversity of ecosystems, habitats and landscapes on earth, the diversity of the species, and the genetic diversity within a biological species or population.


Officially approved subsequent versions of innovator biopharmaceutical products made by a different sponsor after the original product's patent or exclusivity expires. Based on guidance from the EMA (European Medicines Agency), biosimilars must demonstrate comparability, or biosimilarity, to an existing approved product.


A technique used to separate mixtures.


The European CLP regulation (Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures) is based on the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals.


CO2 equivalent: This indicates how much a specified quantity of a specific greenhouse gas has contributed to the greenhouse effect and uses the global warming potential of carbon dioxide as a reference.


Adherence to laws and regulations as well as to voluntary codices that are internal to the Group. Compliance is a component of diligent corporate governance.


A biomolecular method for targeting, cutting and editing the DNA of an organism (gene editing). Experts think this technique has great potential for curing diseases or generating plants and animals with new traits.

Design thinking

An approach to developing new ideas. Design thinking uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.

Disease burden

The impact of a health problem, often measured in terms of quality-adjusted life years or disability-adjusted life years, both of which quantify the number of years lost due to disease.

Dual-use products

Goods that are normally used for civilian purposes, but that may also have military applications.

Due diligence

A risk analysis exercised with particular care that is done in preparation for a business transaction.


Focuses on the effects of substances on the ecosystem.


Environment, Health and Safety describes environmental management, health protection and occupational safety throughout the company.

End-user declaration

A binding customer statement regarding the intended use of a product.

Essential medicines

Defined by the World Health Organization as “those drugs that satisfy the healthcare needs of the majority of the population”.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines exposure assessment as the determination or estimation (qualitative or quantitative) of the magnitude, frequency, duration, and route of exposure between an agent and an organism. This analysis forms part of the chemical safety assessment process.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is the U.S. government agency responsible for protecting and advancing public health, especially as concerns food and drugs.


Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals: An international standard system to classify chemicals that covers labeling as well as safety data sheets.

Global Grade

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany uses a market-oriented method to rate positions within the company. The Group has 23 Global Grades that enable a consistent rating system for positions across the organization.

Global Product Strategy

An initiative of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) through which participating companies of the chemical industry make a commitment to comprehensive product responsibility.


Good Manufacturing Practices is a system for ensuring that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards. These guidelines are used in the production of medicines, pharmaceutical active ingredients and cosmetics, as well as foodstuffs and feed.

Good clinical practice (GCP)

An international quality standard that enforces tight guidelines on ethical aspects of clinical studies.

Good distribution practice (GDP)

An EU guideline that regulates the proper distribution of medicinal products for human use.

Greenhouse gases

Gases in the atmosphere that contribute to global warming. They can be either naturally occurring or caused by humans (such as CO2 emissions caused by burning fossil fuels).


The general term for good (anything...) practice quality guidelines and regulations that are used in many fields, including the medical, pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical chemistry industries.


Portmanteau from the words hacking and marathon. A hackathon is an event attended by people from different professional backgrounds. Teams are given a few hours or days to develop innovative solutions and ideas for pre-defined issues or challenges.

HazCom 2012

A U.S. OSHA standard pertaining to the safe handling of chemicals in the workplace, with an emphasis on occupational safety and environmental protection. This standard requires manufacturers and distributors to provide information on the hazards posed by a product as well as ways to minimize risks.


International Air Transport Association


The aim of the International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH) is to promote uniform assessment criteria for product registration in Europe, the United States and Japan. The ICH makes recommendations toward achieving greater harmonization in the interpretation and application of technical guidelines and requirements for pharmaceutical product registration.

In vitro

Procedures involving components of an organism that have been isolated from their usual biological surroundings (e.g. test tube experiments).

In vivo

Latin for “within the living”, this term describes processes that take place within a living organism.


A federation of research-based pharmaceutical companies in Switzerland.

Investigational drug

A pharmaceutical form of an active ingredient or placebo being tested or used as a reference in a clinical trial, including approved as well as unapproved products when used or assembled (formulated or packaged) in a way different from the approved form, when used for an unapproved indication, or when used to gain further information about an approved use.

ISO 14001

This international environmental management standard sets globally recognized requirements for an environmental management system.

ISO 50001

This international standard defines globally recognized requirements for energy management systems.

ISO 9001

This international standard defines globally recognized requirements for a quality management system.

Least developed countries (LDC)

Countries that, according to the United Nations, exhibit the lowest indicators of socioeconomic development.

Liquid crystals (LC)

Liquid crystals are a hybrid of a crystalline and liquid state. In general, molecules are perfectly arranged only when in a solid crystal state, in contrast to the liquid state, when they move around chaotically. However, liquid crystals are a hybrid of the two states: Although they are liquid, they exhibit a certain crystalline arrangement. Their rod-shaped molecules align themselves like a shoal of fish. In addition, they respond to the electromagnetic waves of light like tiny antennae. Therefore, such swarms of molecules can either allow specially prepared “polarized” light to pass through, or they can block it. This takes place in the pixels of liquid crystal displays – as it does similarly in liquid crystal windows, which can provide shade against sunlight.


The lost time injury rate measures the number of accidents resulting in missed days of work (one or more days) per one million man-hours.


A substance that changes the DNA of an organism.

Neglected tropical disease (NTD)

Diseases that occur primarily in developing countries. NTDs include schistosomiasis, intestinal worms, trachoma, lymphatic filariasis, and onchocerciasis. This group of diseases is called neglected because, despite the large number of people affected, they have historically received less attention and research funding than other diseases.


The Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OSHAS) is an international occupational health and safety management system.


Organic light-emitting diodes are a new technology for displays and lighting.


A chronic parasitic infection caused by nematodes that occurs in the tropical regions of Africa and South America. In approximately 10% of those infected, the disease leads to blindness, which is why onchocerciasis is also referred to as river blindness.

Organizational Health Index (OHI)

An index developed by the consulting firm McKinsey that uses pre-defined parameters to benchmark companies against peers in the same industry, of the same size, orientation, etc. One component of the process is an employee survey on the organization's performance capacity.

Orodispersible tablet

A tablet that dissolves in the mouth within 30 seconds and does not have to be taken with water. The active ingredient is absorbed through the mucous membrane in the mouth and also partly through the lining of the stomach.

Our Competency Model

This model describes the behaviors needed to drive our strategic orientation and success. These behaviors therefore provide key guidance for all learning and development activities.

Our Employee Engagement Survey

This survey is conducted annually to measure the engagement of our employees and to gauge the twelve drivers thereof.

Patent pool

A consortium of at least two competing companies that allows partners to share the use of patents relating to a particular technology.

Patient support program

Any organized system providing services, direct patient or patient-caregiver interactions that are intended and designed to educate patients about certain diseases, help patients with access to and/or the management of prescribed medication and/or disease outcomes, or provide healthcare professionals with support for their patients.


The continual, systematic monitoring of a drug's safety.

Phase I study

Phase I clinical trials test a new biomedical intervention in a small group of people (e.g. 20-80) for the first time to evaluate safety (e.g. to determine a safe dosage range and to identify side effects).

Phase II study

Phase II clinical trials study the biomedical or behavioral intervention in a larger group of people (several hundred) to determine efficacy and to further evaluate its safety.

Phase III study

Phase III studies investigate the efficacy of the biomedical or behavioral intervention in large groups of human subjects (from several hundred to several thousand) by comparing the intervention to other standard or experimental interventions as well as to monitor adverse effects, and to collect information that will allow the intervention to be used safely.

Product safety summaries

Intended to provide a general overview of the chemical substance and its use. It cannot take the place of a safety data sheet.


Abbreviation for polymer-stabilized vertical alignment: A polymer layer pre-aligns the molecules inside the display in a certain direction. In the black state, the liquid crystals are not exactly vertical, but slightly tilted, which allows the liquid crystals to switch more quickly. The light transmittance of the display is significantly higher, thus reducing the backlighting, one of the most costly components to produce.

Public-private partnership (PPP)

A collaboration between public sector (government) organizations, private companies and/or not-for-profit organizations.


A European Union chemical regulation (EC No. 1907/2006) that took effect on June 1, 2007. REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals.

Reproductive health

The term covers various areas such as pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, contraception, and infertility.


Regulation concerning international carriage by rail.


A parasitic disease spread in warm lakes and ponds by snails that serve as intermediate hosts.


This term stands for all necessary measures and governance activities to detect, analyze, handle, and mitigate security- and crime-based threats to the company. This helps to protect employees as well as the tangible and intangible assets of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

Spontaneous report

An unsolicited communication by healthcare professionals or consumers to a company, regulatory authority or other organization that describes one or more adverse drug reactions in a patient who was given one or more medicinal products and that does not derive from a study or any organized data collection scheme.


People or organizations that have a legitimate interest in a company, entitling them to make justified demands. Stakeholders include people such as employees, business partners, neighbors in the vicinity of our sites, and shareholders.


Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Stem cells

Undifferentiated cells with the potential to develop into many different cell types that carry out different functions.

Sugar cane bagasse

A fibrous waste product of sugar refining, which is left when sugarcane stalks are crushed to extract their juice.

Sunshine laws

The Sunshine Provisions of the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act aim to create more transparent relationships between manufacturers of drugs, medical devices and medical aids on the one hand, and doctors and teaching hospitals on the other.


Substances dissolved in water that are present only in minute amounts. Also referred to as micropollutants, these are synthetic substances present in concentrations ranging from one nanogram to one microgram per liter of water.


The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization. TRIPS seeks to ensure that the measures and procedures for enforcing intellectual property rights do not become a barrier to lawful trade.