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The Mectizan Donation Program are finalists in the Smiley Charity Film Awards

Words by Abi Scaife

The Corporate Cause section in the Smiley Charity Film Awards is a chance for businesses to demonstrate how they’re giving back. It’s a hugely important and impactful category, allowing us to celebrate their partnerships with charities and causes that benefit our world.

Ahead of the Smiley Charity Film Awards ceremony, we caught up with Joni Lawrence, the Deputy Director at the Mectizan Donation Program, one of our Corporate Cause finalists.

The Mectizan Donation Program works with partners to achieve a future free of river blindness (onchocerciasis) and lymphatic filariasis (LF or elephantiasis).

Why did you choose to get involved with this cause?

Following the discovery that Merck & Co., Inc./MSD's drug Mectizan® (ivermectin) was safe and effective to control and prevent river blindness (onchocerciasis) in humans, in October 1987, the Company announced that it would donate the drug "as much as needed, for as long as needed" to the millions of people in Africa and Latin America who would otherwise be unable to afford it. In his book, "The Moral Corporation: Merck Experiences" former Merck & Co., Inc. CEO, Dr. Roy Vagelos, who was responsible for the Company's decision to donate Mectizan, stated "If we decided to sell Mectizan, it wouldn't reach those who needed it regardless of how low we set the price. This was unacceptable for a company dedicated to improving human health." 

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Why is it so important for businesses to get involved in charity work and giving back?

Businesses that embrace corporate social responsibility and give back to society support economic development, improve the quality of life and productivity for those less fortunate, and improve company morale. It's a "win/win" when companies operate with a strong, ethical foundation based on partnerships, investing in social causes, and creating innovative and sustainable solutions for the greater good. 

How can businesses best support the causes they are involved with?

Businesses investing in social causes can best support them by providing financial and in-kind support as a partner to ensure that solutions are sustainable long-term and by ensuring that progress is being made toward improving the lives of the people being served. 

You can see the Mectizan Donation Program’s Smiley Charity Film Awards entry here on our website.

You can learn more about the Mectizan Donation Program here on their website.

Charity check-in 

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article. 

RNIB. This charity offers support to blind and partially sighted people across the UK. Learn more here.

BlindAid. This is London's oldest charity for blind and visually impaired people, working to improve quality of life and promote independence. Support them here.

Guide Dogs UK. Guide Dogs supports and raises awareness for blind and partially sighted people. Find out more here.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Good Health and Wellbeing.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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