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


July 29, 2013 4:01 pm ET

Historic Milestone Reflects Successful Collaboration Among MECTIZAN® Donation Program and Partners

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.”

For more information, please view the news releases from:

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
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operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health
solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to
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Lainie Keller, 908-423-4187

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