Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
  • Featured Partner: Merck & Co. Inc.

    Long before Sarbanes-Oxley and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), Merck knew the value of corporate responsibility. Merck & Co. Inc., (Merck), also known as MSD outside of the U.S. and Canada, is a global health care company with a 125-year history of providing vaccines, medications, and consumer and animal health products that save and improve lives. They proudly state, and rightly so, that corporate responsibility is at the heart of the company’s mission, and nearly 20 years ago created a Global Security Group (GSG) to help the company meet the challenges of doing business in an increasingly complex world climate.

    “The GSG has sponsorship from the highest levels of the Merck organization,” said Catherine Begley, CFE, CISSP, Executive Director, Merck Global Security. Grant Ashley, Vice President and Chief Security Officer, leads the GSG and became a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) in 2013 — one of 40 CFEs total within the company. “Our Chief Security Officer promotes the availability of state-of-the-art training for the GSG team and wants us to be educated on the current security issues. We are strong advocates of cascading messages throughout their organizations. We all have to be security advocates.”

    “All members of Merck GSG are encouraged to become members of the ACFE and all investigators have the opportunity to become CFEs.”
    Catherine Begley, CFE, CISSP
    Executive Director
    Merck Global Security

    According to Begley, Merck Global Security encompasses a robust anti-fraud awareness campaign. “There is an investigative team in all regions to address behavior.” she said. “All members of Merck GSG are encouraged to become members of the ACFE and all investigators have the opportunity to become CFEs.”

    Begley noted that the presence of global cybercrime has the potential to impact Merck significantly. This reinforces the need to engage with all businesses within the company in a collaborative effort and to maintain open communication with law enforcement globally. “It is imperative to ensure that GSG has the proper tools to identify, investigate and, more importantly, prevent cybercrime,” she said.

    Additional fraud schemes and risks specific to the pharmaceutical industry that Merck faces include: the theft of intellectual property and trade secrets, financial fraud schemes, health care fraud schemes, corporate branding and reputation threats and product integrity. Safeguarding our patients and products, Begley noted, is paramount. “GSG is vigilant in the identification and prevention of our products being counterfeit, diverted, misbranded, tampered with or stolen,” she said.

    "Joining the Corporate Alliance has helped improve anti-fraud efforts through sharing and discussing similar challenges related to product integrity, fraud and cybercrime."
    Catherine Begley, CFE, CISSP
    Executive Director
    Merck Global Security

    Since the inception of Merck GSG in 1999, Merck has devoted time and effort to anti-fraud strategies —notably in 2016 when they joined the ACFE Corporate Alliance in order to share best practices and challenges with other major Fortune Global 500 corporations. Begley believes that joining the Corporate Alliance has helped improve anti-fraud efforts through sharing and discussing similar challenges related to product integrity, fraud and cybercrime.

    When asked how the partnership better equips Merck to prevent and detect fraud, Begley said that “a combination of ACFE conferences and online training adds value to the skills necessary to prevent and detect fraud. All investigators are encouraged to become CFEs and those applying for employment are given special consideration if certification has been obtained.”

    Begley also values collaborating with other corporations participating in the Corporate Alliance. Merck GSG has been able to build relationships with other member companies during biannual meetings, international ACFE conferences held throughout the year, and particularly at the ACFE Global Fraud Conference. “Our relationships within the Corporate Alliance have certainly been an advantage in expediting lessons learned,” Begley said. “As with any major corporation, it is advantageous and necessary to share best practices across the globe. Security involves not only our products and systems, but our people and our reputation. Educating ourselves on the best that is available is not only responsible, but it is expected by everyone we support.”

    “Our relationships within the Corporate Alliance have certainly been an advantage in expediting lessons learned. As with any major corporation, it is advantageous and necessary to share best practices across the globe.”
    Catherine Begley, CFE, CISSP
    Executive Director
    Merck Global Security

    Begley also values collaborating with other corporations participating in the Corporate Alliance. Merck GSG has been able to build relationships with other member companies during biannual meetings, international ACFE conferences held throughout the year, and particularly at the ACFE Global Fraud Conference. “Our relationships within the Corporate Alliance have certainly been an advantage in expediting lessons learned,” Begley said. “As with any major corporation, it is advantageous and necessary to share best practice across the globe. Security involves not only our products and systems, but our people and our reputation. Educating ourselves on the best that is available is not only responsible, but it is expected by everyone we support.”

    Begley emphasized the value of anti-fraud education and collaboration with industry and non-industry peers is priceless in managing security risks. Internally, Merck GSG ensures that the team has access to continuing education on industry best practices. This is accomplished by identifying appropriate training and learning opportunities that fosters anti-fraud prevention throughout the company. It is vital that Merck and MSD’s Code of Conduct, Values and Standards is the foundation that drives our actions and overall success when investigating and addressing risks to our patients and products.

ACFE Corporate Alliance