Merck & Co. - costs of marketing and administration 2009-2017

The marketing and administrative expenses of Merck & Co. increased marginally between 2016 and 2017. Costs in this segment rose to 9.83 billion U.S. dollars in 2017 compared with 9.76 billion U.S. dollars over the previous twelve months.

The power of patents

Merck & Co. spent around 10.1 billion U.S. dollars on selling, general, and administrative expenses in 2018. This segment includes advertising and promotion costs, which accounted for approximately 2.1 billion U.S. dollars during the year. Patent rights are important to the marketing of medicines in the pharmaceutical industry, providing companies with the exclusive rights to sell products over a period of time. Keytruda was Merck's top-selling product in 2018, and it is protected by patents in the United States until 2028.

Teamwork can make a dream work

Competition in the pharmaceutical industry has intensified in recent years, particularly due to advancements in biotechnology as a result of breakthroughs in genetic research. Companies are continuously looking for ways to stay ahead in the race to develop new drugs; many have chosen to increase resources and expertise by acquiring rivals or entering collaborative partnerships with other organizations. In recent years, Merck & Co. has agreed to arrangements with three companies: AstraZeneca, Eisai, and Bayer. Development expenses incurred under the terms of these deals are reflected in the company’s research and development expenditure.

Marketing and administration expenses by Merck & Co. from 2009 to 2017

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Release date

February 2018



Survey time period

2009 to 2017

Supplementary notes

Figures prior to 2013 were taken from previous editions.

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