SUMMARY OF OUR ONLINE PRIVACY COMMITMENT TO YOU
- We understand and respect that your privacy is important to you.
- We use and share personal information that you provide online only in ways that we tell you about.
- We secure personal information that you provide online to prevent it from being used and shared for other purposes.
Merck*, also known as MSD, offers online resources designed to provide health, medical, and product-related information and services, as well as corporate and financial news and employment information. In addition, some of our Web sites enable qualified professionals to place orders for our pharmaceutical and vaccine products, to apply for grants, or to contribute to clinical studies.
Merck has received TRUSTe’s Privacy Seal signifying that this privacy statement and our practices have been reviewed for compliance with the TRUSTe program requirements. The specific web sites covered by TRUSTe’s certification are listed online. If you have an unresolved privacy or data use concern that we have not addressed satisfactorily, please contact TRUSTe online or via postal mail or fax. TRUSTe’s Dispute Resolution process is only available in English.
The Merck privacy program and practices comply with the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules system.
Please read this policy carefully. Should you have any questions about this policy or our data collection, use and disclosure practices, please contact us.
- How does Merck collect personal information online?
- Why does Merck collect, use and disclose personal information?
- Does Merck consolidate personal information?
- What choices do I have about how Merck collects, uses and discloses personal information about me?
- Who will have access to personal information about me?
- Does Merck share personal information with third parties?
- How does Merck secure personal information?
- How does Merck protect the privacy of children?
- How may I access and correct personal information about me?
- How long does Merck retain personal information?
- What is Merck's contact address for privacy questions?
- How will I know whether Merck has updated this policy?
The term "personal information" as used throughout this policy, applies to any information or set of information that identifies or that is used by or on behalf of Merck to identify an individual.
How does Merck collect personal information online?
Merck collects personal information online through Web sites and other online resources. Merck also offers online resources in collaboration with other online service providers, from which Merck may receive personal information about users of such resources. These online collaborations are governed by agreements that require personal information to be protected appropriately. Individuals may access many parts of our Web sites and online resources without disclosing any personal information. There are three methods that Merck uses to collect personal information online:
1. Information that you provide: Merck collects personal information and other data that you may enter into forms or data fields on our Web sites or online resources. Such information may include, but not be limited to, contact information (such as your name, postal address, e-mail address, telephone number, user ID and password), date of birth, professional credentials, experiences, activities, skills, preferences, hobbies and interests. Merck may also collect health information about you that you provide by responding to our questions and surveys or through your use of online and downloadable health-related tools we provide. Some of our Web sites enable users to place orders, such as for our vaccines. These Web sites may collect credit card information to process those orders.
2. Information from public or third party information sources: Merck may collect personal information about health care professionals who register on our Web sites from public or third party information sources to verify their professional credentials and identity. When customers use a credit card to place an order on our Web sites, Merck verifies the validity of the credit card information with financial or credit organizations. In some cases, we may augment our existing user databases with information from third parties. Some of this information may be personal information, such as change of postal address information.
3. Information collected from your computer or other electronic device:
We collect information about your computer or other electronic device when you visit our Web sites and use our online resources. This information may include your Internet Protocol (IP) address, domain name, browser type, date and time of your request and information provided by tracking technologies, such as cookies and single-pixel tags. If you use a mobile device to access our web sites and online resources, we also may collect information about your device, such as your device ID and device type, as well as usage information about your device and your use of our mobile Web sites and other mobile resources.
Some of our Web sites and other online resources use tracking technologies to provide additional functionality that enables you to use these resources more effectively. Merck uses tracking technologies in ways that do not identify you personally, such as to track accurately numbers of users or referring sites or advertisements to our online resources, or to remember whether you have identified yourself as a health care professional or a resident of a particular country. Merck may use other companies to deliver e-mail communications on our behalf or to place Merck advertisements on other web sites. Merck does not control the tracking technologies used by these other companies. If you want to limit anonymous data collection through tracking technologies, please refer to your choices as described below.
In some cases, Merck may use tracking technologies in ways that identify you personally, but only after you have entered personal information into a form or data field on our Web sites, or where we have registered you to use our online resources by providing a user ID and password based on information validated through other offline interactions with you. We may use tracking technologies to remember your personal preferences and selections, such as personal information that you have entered into data fields on our Web sites, answers that you have provided in response to our surveys, sections of our Web sites that you visit frequently, or to confirm whether you have read or clicked on certain e-mail communications we send to you so that we can make our communications more useful and interesting to you.
You may choose whether or not you want Merck to use tracking technologies to remember you when you visit our web sites, and/or to provide additional personalized services to you. If you want to limit data collection through tracking technologies, please refer to your choices as described below.
What are cookies?
A cookie is a small data file that is sent by Web servers to your computer’s hard drive, where your Internet browser files are kept. Cookies enable Web sites to store small bits of information on your computer and retrieve that information at a later time. Merck uses two types of cookies: session cookies, which are temporary cookies that are erased from your computer’s memory when you close your Internet browser or turn your computer off, and persistent cookies, which exist on your computer’s hard drive until they expire, unless you delete them at an earlier time.
What are single-pixel tags?
Single-pixel tags, also known as web beacons or web tags, are graphics that function similar to cookies. Single-pixel tags are not visible because of their small size. They are used to collect information in web logs that does not identify you personally such as web pages viewed, the web site you came from and the advertisement you clicked on to visit our web sites. They also are used to determine whether certain promotional or other commercial e-mail messages we send are opened.
Why does Merck collect, use and disclose personal information?
1. Generally: Merck collects personal information online as necessary to enable individuals to register for, customize and personalize certain of Merck’s online resources and communications. Merck uses personal information collected online to provide products, services and features and other resources that individuals have requested; for example, educational literature and related information about Merck’s pharmaceutical business, e-mail programs, tools, quizzes, questionnaires, and surveys. Merck analyzes personal information collected online to identify and offer additional services and promotions that we believe you might find interesting. Merck evaluates use of some online resources and communications with non-identifiable or aggregate information only. Merck also may use personal information to audit its online resources for authorized access and security.
2. Social Media: Online social media resources are interactive tools that typically enable you to collaborate and share information with others. Some examples of social media resources include social networks, discussion boards, bulletin boards, blogs, wikis, and referral functions to share web site content and tools with a friend or colleague. Merck may collect personal information from you to enable you to use online social media resources we may offer from time to time. Merck may also enable you to use these social media resources to post or share personal information with others. You should consider carefully what information about yourself you choose to share with others when you use social media resources. Merck provides additional notice and choices about how personal information is collected, used and disclosed on our Web sites and other online resources that offer social media.
3. Mobile Computing: Some Merck Web sites and online resources are designed specifically for use on mobile computing devices. Some mobile versions of Merck Web sites may require that you log in with your user account for that Web site. Information about your use of the mobile version of the Web site will be associated with your user account. Some of our Web sites and online resources enable you to download an application (app), widget or other tool that you can use on your mobile or other computing device. Some of these apps may store information on your mobile or other device. These apps may transmit personal information to Merck, or others working for Merck, to enable you to access your user account or to enable Merck to track how these tools are used, such as how often they are used and which features are preferred. Some of these apps may enable you to e-mail reports and other information from the app. Merck may use personal or non-identifiable information transmitted to Merck to enhance these apps, to develop new tools, for quality improvement and as otherwise described in this Policy or in other notices Merck provides. We evaluate how some of our apps are used by enabling data about your use of the app on your device, such as which features you used the most, to be transmitted to Flurry, an analytics service provider. If you do not want Flurry to track your use of the app on your device, you can opt-out.
Does Merck consolidate personal information?
Consistent with the purposes identified and standards set within this policy and other applicable privacy notices that have been provided, in some cases Merck consolidates and uses personal information that individuals share with Merck through various services and channels, such as the telephone, surveys, Web sites and other online resources and communications, in order to enhance the quality of services that we offer.
What choices do I have about how Merck collects, uses and discloses personal information about me?
You have four categories of choices. These include:
1. No personal information collection: You may choose not to provide any personal information to Merck online by electing not to enter any personal information into a form or data field on our Web sites, and by not using any personalized services provided by our online resources. However, some of our online resources are available only to individuals who provide personal information or who use personalized services.
2. Limitations and options regarding uses and disclosures for other purposes: Some Merck online resources may request your permission to use and disclose personal information about you in order to add you to our contact lists, to enable you to list yourself in a directory or a social media resource, and to identify and offer additional services and promotions that we believe you might find interesting. You can limit the use of personal information about you by checking or un-checking options provided at the time that you enter that information or that we may offer to you in the future. Additionally, you may change your communications preferences (such as to opt-out of communications you requested previously) by contacting us at the address that is most relevant to you.
Other browsers allow you to select cookie settings for all Web sites that you visit. If you are concerned about the use of cookie technology, please read our section above on “Information collected from your computer or other electronic device” to understand the ways that Merck uses tracking technologies. If you limit or disable cookies, certain functions of our Web sites may not work properly, including access to some of our registration-based Web sites. For more information on how to disable tracking for certain web browsers and mobile devices, visit http://allaboutdnt.com/.
Opting out of tracking by third parties: If you would like to opt-out of the cookies set by other companies who deliver e-mail communications on our behalf or place Merck advertisements on other web sites, you may do so by following the options provided by the Network Advertising Initiative at:
http://www.networkadvertising.org/optout_nonppii.asp and the Digital Advertising Alliance at: http://www.aboutads.info/choices/. If you are using mobile services provided by or on behalf of Merck that use the analytics provider, Flurry, to track use of the mobile services, you can opt-out of tracking by Flurry at https://dev.flurry.com/secure/optOut.do.
4. E-mail communications: You may choose to receive optional e-mail and other communications from Merck by signing up for or subscribing to these communications on our Web sites and other online resources. If you do not wish to receive optional e-mail communications, you may opt-out by visiting the web site or other online resources where you subscribed, where available, and update your e-mail communication selections, or you may follow the unsubscribe or opt-out instructions in the e-mail communications you receive from us. You also may opt-out by contacting us at the address that is most relevant to you. If you do not wish for Merck to confirm whether you have read or clicked on certain e-mail communications we have sent to you, you may opt out of e-mail communications tracking by opting out of receiving those e-mail communications altogether using one of the approaches described above. In some cases we will not be able to turn off e-mail tracking and still send the communication to you.
If you choose to tell a friend about one of our web sites or online resources by using our email referral features, we will provide contextual information about how those features use personal information. In general, our email referral features do not store the names or email addresses of individuals to whom you send links to our web sites or online resources.
Who will have access to personal information about me?
Personal information about you will be accessible to Merck, including its subsidiaries, divisions and groups worldwide, and to individuals and organizations that use personal information solely for and at the direction of Merck. Uses and disclosures of personal information by external individuals and organizations acting on Merck's behalf are governed by agreements that require personal information to be protected appropriately. Personal information about you only will be used and disclosed by Merck and individuals and organizations working on its behalf, in a manner consistent with this policy, other applicable privacy notices, and as explicitly permitted or required by applicable laws, rules and regulations.
Does Merck share personal information with third parties?
In general, Merck does not sell or share personal information about you except as described in this policy and other applicable privacy notices, however, circumstances may arise where Merck may, for business reasons, decide to reorganize or divest its business through sale, merger or acquisition. In these circumstances, personal information may be shared with actual or prospective purchasers. Merck will obtain written assurances that personal information will be protected appropriately in these circumstances. Merck reserves the right to disclose personal information about you, including your e-mail address, for reporting to government authorities, to parties in relevant legal proceedings as authorized by the presiding court or tribunal and otherwise to the extent required or explicitly authorized by applicable law. Except as provided in this policy, personal information about you will not otherwise be shared without your permission.
How does Merck secure personal information?
Merck will take reasonable steps to protect personal information, according to its sensitivity, as it is collected and transmitted between your computer or device and our online resources and servers, as well as to protect personal information in its possession from unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration or destruction. It is your personal responsibility to secure your own copies of your passwords and related access codes for our online resources.
How does Merck protect the privacy of children?
In general, Merck Web sites are not directed at children and most of the online services that we offer are designed for individuals who are 18 years of age or older. Where requests for information about a medication are permitted by law, individuals requesting information about a medication that is indicated for use in children must be 18 years of age or older.
We do not knowingly collect personal information from children under 13 years of age. If you are a parent or guardian that has knowledge that we have collected information from your child, please contact the Merck Privacy Office to request removal.
From time to time, some Merck web sites and other online resources may provide optional features for children. When we do offer those features, we will take appropriate steps to ensure that verifiable parental consent is obtained prior to any collection, use or disclosure of personal information from children.
How may I access and correct personal information about me?
To gain access to personal information about you collected online, and to keep it accurate, complete and current, or to request deletion, you may contact us at the address most relevant to you. In some cases, where we are required to retain information by law or regulation, or to continue to manage a service you have requested, or to ensure that we honor your preferences, or for other necessary business purposes, we may not be able to delete certain personal information about you. Where offered, you also may update personal information about you online by modifying information that you previously have entered into forms or data fields on our Web sites. Where permitted by law, your ability to access and correct personal information will be limited where access and correction would: inhibit Merck’s ability to comply with a legal or ethical obligation, inhibit Merck’s ability to investigate, make or defend legal claims, result in disclosure of personal information about a third party, result in breach of a contract or disclosure of trade secrets or other proprietary business information belonging to Merck or a third party.
How long does Merck retain personal information?
We generally retain personal information for as long as needed for the specific business purpose or purposes for which it was collected. In some cases, we may be required to retain information for a longer period of time based on laws or regulations that apply to our business or for other necessary business purposes. Where possible, we aim to anonymize the information or remove unnecessary identifiers from records that we may need to keep for periods beyond the original retention period.
What is Merck's contact address for privacy questions?
Should you have questions about this policy or Merck's information collection, use and disclosure practices, you may contact us via email to the Merck Privacy Office or at the address most relevant to you. You may access this list of addresses online at http://www.merck.com/contact/contacts.html. When you contact us, please note the name of the Web site or other online resource you used or to which you provided personal information, as well as the nature of any information that you provided. We will use reasonable efforts to respond promptly within 10-20 business days to requests, questions or concerns you may have regarding access to personal information about you collected online or our use of personal information about you. We may contact you for follow up information and may share your inquiry with other individuals within Merck or working for Merck that are responsible for functions related to the subject of your inquiry. Except where required by law, Merck cannot ensure a response to questions or comments regarding topics unrelated to this policy or Merck's privacy practices.
How will I know whether Merck has updated this policy?
Merck may update this policy periodically. Merck reserves the right to modify, add or remove portions of this privacy statement at its discretion. If we decide to change this policy, we will post those changes at this site so you always will know what information we gather, how we might use that information, and whether we will disclose it to anyone. If the changes we make to the policy are material, we also may post a notice on the Merck web page (www.merck.com/privacy) prior to the effective date of the change, or, in some cases, may provide notice of the changes by e-mail. This policy was last updated on November 4, 2013.