Merck, Ferring Pharmaceuticals and the World Health Organization Working Together to Prevent Excessive Bleeding in Women after Childbirth
April 4, 2014 7:00 am ET
Post-partum Hemorrhage Is Leading Cause of Mothers Dying
Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and
Ferring Pharmaceuticals today announced their collaboration with the
World Health Organization (WHO) to advance a new, proprietary
formulation of carbetocin, used to prevent excessive bleeding
(post-partum hemorrhage) in women after childbirth, that is designed to
be stable at room temperature, even in hot and tropical climates (ICH
climatic zone IV). Currently, oxytocin, the standard medicine
administered for the prevention of excessive bleeding, is
temperature-sensitive and requires sustained cold distribution and
storage in hot climates. The WHO will conduct a multi-country clinical
study to evaluate the effectiveness of room-temperature-stable
carbetocin, as compared to oxytocin. The development of a medicine that
can be stored at room temperature has the potential to significantly
improve management of bleeding following childbirth in the many areas of
the world where cold storage is difficult to achieve and maintain, and
thereby help reduce maternal deaths in those areas.
Starting this year, the study will take place in 12 countries around the
world and enroll approximately 29,000 women. If the results of the study
are positive, the organizations will work together with the aim of
making the medicine available in developing countries that have a high
burden of maternal mortality at an affordable and sustainable
“Mothers hold the future in their hands. That’s why Merck has taken on
our 10-year, $500 million fight against maternal mortality,” said
Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer, Merck.
“Working with our partners, we can help make a better solution a
reality. It would be a real breakthrough to help prevent the number-one
cause of women dying in childbirth in the most vulnerable parts of the
globe.” Through its Merck for Mothers initiative, Merck is
applying its scientific and business expertise – as well as its
financial resources – to reduce maternal mortality around the world.
“Few tragedies compare to the death of a mother during childbirth.
Obstetric treatments that benefit mother and baby are a key focus of our
efforts at Ferring. Ferring originally developed carbetocin and received
the indication for the prevention of post-partum hemorrhage more than a
decade ago. Ferring is delighted to join with the WHO and Merck in this
project that aims to make the benefits of carbetocin available in areas
of the world where cold storage is not readily available,” said Michel
L. Pettigrew, President of the Executive Board and COO, Ferring Group.
Carbetocin is not available in the United States. The WHO study of
room-temperature-stable carbetocin will take place in Argentina, Brazil,
Egypt, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa,
Thailand, Uganda and the United Kingdom.
About Ferring Pharmaceuticals
Ferring Pharmaceuticals is a research-driven, specialty
biopharmaceutical group, headquartered in Switzerland, and active in
global markets. The company identifies, develops and markets innovative
products in the areas of reproductive health, urology, gastroenterology
and endocrinology. Ferring’s obstetric portfolio (available in various
countries outside the USA) includes carbetocin, a medicine which
prevents post-partum hemorrhage, atosiban, a medicine which delays
imminent preterm birth and dinoprostone and misoprostol to be used in
connection with labour induction. Ferring has its own operating
subsidiaries in 55 countries and markets its products in more than 100
countries. To learn more about Ferring or its products please visit www.ferring.com.
About Merck for Mothers
Every two minutes, a woman dies from complications related to pregnancy
and childbirth. If nothing is done an estimated three million women may
die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth in the next decade.
Most of these deaths are preventable. While the burden falls most
heavily on the developing world, certain communities in the United
States and other developed nations are suffering significant and
worsening rates of maternal death.
Merck for Mothers is a 10-year, $500 million initiative focused
on creating a world where no woman has to die from complications of
pregnancy and childbirth. Drawing on the company’s history of
discovering innovative, life-saving medicines and vaccines, Merck for
Mothers is applying Merck’s scientific and business expertise – as
well as its financial resources and experience in taking on tough global
healthcare challenges – to reduce maternal mortality around the world.
For more information, visit www.merckformothers.com
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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.
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Jennifer Allen Woodruff, 267-305- 3550
Lainie Keller, 908-423-4187
Carol Ferguson, 908-423-4465
Helen Gallagher, +41 58 301 0051
Patrick Gorman, +41 58 301 0053