Health Policy Forum

Johns Hopkins to host conversation with Merck CEO Robert Davis

Davis, who leads one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, will discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and drug affordability during virtual event on Oct. 4

The Johns Hopkins Health Policy Forum will welcome Robert M. Davis, CEO and president of Merck, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, for a virtual conversation Oct. 4 with Alex Triantis, dean of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

The conversation, which begins at noon, is expected to cover a range of topics, including Merck's role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the power of public-private partnerships in driving policy change, and reflection on Merck's legacy advancing drug affordability and policies around the world.

Merck CEO Robert M. Davis

Image caption: Merck CEO Robert M. Davis

Johns Hopkins staff members, faculty, students, alumni, and members of the general public are invited to attend the event; advance registration is required.

"Carey Business School's premier research and degree programs in the business of health emphasize the critical role of innovation in pharmaceuticals and other segments of the health industry. Collaborating with highly innovative companies such as Merck is critical to our mission," Triantis said. "The Johns Hopkins Health Policy Forum is a tremendous opportunity to explore the business of health, and we are delighted to bring Rob Davis's insights to our students and to the broader community."

Davis is the third expert to participate in the Health Policy Forum series, which launched in fall 2020 to highlight the university's engagement with key leaders on matters of health policy and health care. Previous events featured Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (October 2020), and Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (May 2021).

Before becoming Merck's CEO in July, Davis served as the company's president, overseeing its human health, animal health, and manufacturing divisions as well as Merck Research Laboratories. He first joined Merck in 2014 as chief financial officer and became executive vice president of the company's global services two years later.

A multinational pharmaceutical company based in Kenilworth, New Jersey, Merck has been developing medicines and vaccines for more than 130 years, including those treating cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and one of the first vaccines to prevent infection from the Ebola virus.

Prior to joining Merck, Davis held several leadership positions at Baxter's Medical Products during his 10-year tenure there—including president, corporate vice president, and chief financial officer—after 14 years in roles of increasing responsibility at Eli Lilly and Company.

Davis serves on the board of directors at Duke Energy Corporation, chairing its finance and risk management committee and serving on its corporate governance committee. He is also a board member of Project Hope, a nonprofit focused on empowering health care workers to deliver care where it's needed most.

Davis received his JD from Northwestern University School of Law, his MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and his bachelor's degree in finance from Miami University.

The Health Policy Forum series is jointly hosted by the Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Carey Business School, the School of Nursing, and Johns Hopkins Medicine.