Merck Commemorates 30 Years of MECTIZAN® Donation Program Progress


November 30, 2017 9:00 am ET

Program Expanded to Reach Additional 100 Million People Annually for Lymphatic Filariasis in Support of New, Evidence-Based WHO Guidelines

Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada,
today announced an expansion of the MECTIZAN® Donation
Program (MDP) to reach up to an additional 100 million people per year
through 2025 as part of the global effort to eliminate lymphatic
filariasis (LF).

Through the MDP, established by Merck in 1987, Merck donates MECTIZAN®
(ivermectin) for onchocerciasis (river blindness) in all affected areas
(Latin America, Africa, Yemen) and for LF in African countries where it
co-exists with river blindness.

LF, also known as elephantiasis, is a parasitic disease transmitted to
humans through the bites of mosquitoes. Over time, infection can impair
the lymphatic system leading to severe swelling of the limbs and
genitals resulting in severe disability and social stigma. One of the
neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), it is present in 72 countries

Recent studies funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and
supported by Merck showed that adding ivermectin to the treatment
regimen used in LF endemic countries where there is no river blindness
can accelerate the time needed to achieve elimination of LF. The World
Health Organization (WHO) recently published new
outlining this approach, prompting Merck’s decision to
expand the geographic reach of the MDP to include areas outside of
Africa. Merck and the MDP will work with the WHO, national LF programs
and other stakeholders to develop a mechanism to enable national
programs and their partners to deploy the additional donation.

“LF is on the short list of diseases that are targeted for elimination
in the World
Health Organization’s Roadmap on Neglected Tropical Diseases
,” said
Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer, Merck. “With
the evidence put forward in the WHO’s new guidelines, we’re expanding
the MECTIZAN® Donation Program to bring improved health and
hope to millions of people as we work toward the day when LF is no
longer a threat.”

Through the MDP and its partners, including endemic countries, NGOs, the
WHO, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the
Department for International Development (DFID) and other donors and
implementation organizations, more than 250 million people in 32
countries are reached each year for river blindness and LF. Since the
inception of the program in 1987, Merck has donated more than 2.8
billion treatments for both diseases.

About the MECTIZAN

Donation Program

The MECTIZAN® Donation Program (MDP) was established at the
Task Force for Global Health in 1987 to provide medical, technical and
administrative oversight of the donation of MECTIZAN® by
Merck for the treatment of onchocerciasis. In 1998, the MDP expanded its
mandate to include oversight of the donation of albendazole by GSK to be
distributed in conjunction with MECTIZAN® for the elimination
of lymphatic filariasis in onchocerciasis co-endemic areas.

About Merck

For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical
company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been
inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of
the world’s most challenging diseases. Through our prescription
medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies 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 health care through far-reaching policies, programs
and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of
research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that
threaten people and communities around the world – including cancer,
cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer’s disease
and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information,
and connect with us on Twitter,
and LinkedIn.

Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J.,

This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A. (the
“company”) includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of
the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs
and expectations of the company’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; the company’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 the company’s patents
and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to
litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company 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 the company’s 2016 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 (

Doris Li, 908-740-1903
Jeanine Clemente, 908-740-6268
Teri Loxam, 908-740-1986
Amy Klug, 908-740-1898
MECTIZAN® Donation Program:
Joni Lawrence, 404-687-5610
Yao Sodahlon, 404-371-1460

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