Merck Applauds Colombia for First PAHO/WHO Verification of Elimination of River Blindness

Historic Milestone Reflects Successful Collaboration Among MECTIZAN® Donation Program and Partners
Jul 29, 2013 9:00 AM ET
Press Release

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., July 29, 2013 /3BL Media/ - Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, applauds the government of Colombia whose work with the MECTIZAN® Donation Program and The Carter Center-sponsored Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas led to today’s Pan American Health Organization, the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for the Americas (PAHO/WHO), verification of Colombia as the first country in the world to eliminate the transmission of river blindness (onchocerciasis), using MECTIZAN (ivermectin). Onchocerciasis is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness worldwide.

“We are humbled by the great work of the MECTIZAN Donation Program and its partners in protecting future generations of Colombians from a disease that carries devastating implications for people, families, healthcare systems and local economies,” said Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer, Merck. “It is tremendously rewarding to see the alliance of partners achieve the long-held goal of making river blindness a disease of the past in Colombia.”

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About the MECTIZAN Donation Program
In October 1987, Merck announced it would donate the medication MECTIZAN to all who need it for as long as necessary until onchocerciasis is eliminated as a public health problem. The MECTIZAN Donation Program reaches more than 100 million people annually.

In Latin America, since 1989, more than 10 million treatments of donated MECTIZAN have been delivered by community health workers and non-governmental organizations.

About Merck
Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Forward-Looking Statement
This news release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; Merck’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Merck’s 2012 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (

Lainie Keller