Merck Donates $300,000 to Support Neglected Tropical Disease Elimination Efforts in Africa


April 20, 2017 8:00 am ET

Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced
today a $300,000 cash donation to support non-governmental organization
(NGO) partners working to eliminate river blindness (onchocerciasis) and
lymphatic filariasis (LF) in Africa. The donation will be offered to 10
NGOs beginning this year, and will be administered through the MECTIZAN®
Donation Program (MDP), a public/private partnership established in 1987
following the announcement by Merck to donate MECTIZAN® to
control and eliminate river blindness.

River blindness and LF are targeted for elimination in the World
Health Organization’s (WHO) Roadmap on Neglected Tropical Diseases
and NGOs have long played a critical role in the broad
partnership focused on achieving those targets. Grants will be given to
support activities focused on the elimination of river blindness or LF,
and will be offered to our partner NGOs who are directly involved in the
distribution of MECTIZAN®. Eligible NGOs will be able to
request funds through an application process in which they will be
required to secure a 50-50 matching grant, effectively doubling the
resources to $600,000.

Through the MDP and its partners — including endemic countries, NGOs,
the WHO, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the WHO’s Regional
Office for Africa (WHO AFRO), the WHO’s Regional Office for the Eastern
Mediterranean (WHO EMRO), the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID), the Department for International Development (DFID)
and others — more than 200 million people in 32 countries are reached
each year. NGOs play a critical role in this partnership, facilitating
community-led efforts to distribute MECTIZAN® and educating
people about the diseases. Since the inception of the program in 1987,
Merck has donated more than 2.5 billion treatments for river blindness
and LF.

“Since the MECTIZAN® Donation Program began 30 years
ago, Merck and its global partners have made great strides to control
and eliminate river blindness and lymphatic filariasis. With both
diseases now targeted for elimination, we hope this grant will enable
our partner NGOs to achieve further progress toward that goal,” said
Brenda Colatrella, executive director, corporate responsibility. The
MDP’s impact extends beyond its immediate health benefits. The program
has been a catalyst in the formation of similar donation programs for
other NTDs. Initially focused only on river blindness, in 1998, Merck
expanded the MDP to include MECTIZAN® for the prevention of
LF in African countries where the disease coexists with river blindness.
Further, the broad public-private partnership supports the training of
community health care workers and strengthening distribution systems
through which other medicines, vaccines and medical supplies can be
delivered in resource-poor settings.

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,
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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, 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.

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

This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (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 (

Claire Gillespie, 267-305-0932
Jeanine Clemente, 908-740-6268
Joni Lawrence, 404-687-5610
Yao Sodahlon, 404-371-1460

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