Merck on top – Magazine ranks donors

Pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. Inc. and chemical maker DuPont Co. gave the most to charity in 1999, according to a survey of the 600 largest publicly traded companies, Reuters reported Nov. 21.

The survey, published in the December/January edition of Worth magazine, counted both gifts of cash and in-kind goods and services.

Merck gave $148.5 million to charity last year, including the value of drug donations, such as the river-lindness drug Mectizan.

DuPont contributed $122.2 million in programs for community development, education and the environment.

Tobacco company Philip Morris gave $98 million, the largest cash donation, to support hunger relief and the arts.

Intel Corp., which was 12th on the list, donated $70 million, including funds for a program to train 400,000 teachers in 20 countries to use computers in classroom teaching.

Four other drug companies were listed in the survey’s top 50: Eli Lilly & Co., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Pfizer Inc., and Abbott Laboratories.

Pharmaceutical makers have faced pressure as of late to donate medicine to poor countries to help them battle treatable diseases.

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