Merck Recognizes World Hepatitis Day with Partnerships and Grants to Support Global and U.S. Hepatitis C Communities


July 26, 2012 7:08 am ET

In honor of World Hepatitis Day on July 28, Merck (NYSE: MRK) (known as
MSD outside the United States and Canada) today announced updates on
several projects supporting the global and U.S. hepatitis C communities
as part of its Hope Against Hepatitis C initiative, the company’s
ongoing commitment to increase awareness, prevention, diagnosis and
treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection. These initiatives
include partnerships on a global and local level to provide support and
funding for the hepatitis C community.

Approximately 3.2 million Americans are chronically infected with the
hepatitis C virus, which can damage the liver over time and lead to
cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease and liver cancer. In the U.S.,
hepatitis C is the most common chronic blood-borne infection.

“Merck has been committed to helping those with viral hepatitis for more
than 30 years, and we are proud to build on that legacy by supporting
educational and awareness efforts we believe can play an important role
in addressing this serious global public health issue,” said Jay
Galeota, President, Hospital and Specialty Care, Global Human Health,
Merck. “Through our support of hepatitis C education, screening and
research, we hope to have a meaningful and lasting impact on the
community of those affected by the disease.”

World Hepatitis Day memorialized through partnership with World
Hepatitis Alliance

In support of World Hepatitis Day, Merck has provided a grant and
partnered with the World Hepatitis Alliance, a leading global
organization dedicated to preventing the spread of viral hepatitis and
improving the lives of people living with the disease through better
awareness, diagnosis and access to treatment and care. The World
Hepatitis Alliance is embarking on a variety of public education,
awareness and policy initiatives to combat stigma and discrimination,
while working toward implementing a global viral hepatitis strategy with
the World Health Organization.

Donation of testing kits supports screening for hepatitis C virus
around the world

Merck has worked with OraSure Technologies to donate more than 11,000
rapid hepatitis C virus testing kits to assist local organizations
around the world who have sought assistance with ongoing screening

“Chronic hepatitis C is often referred to as a silent disease because of
the lack of symptoms, so many are unaware they are infected until the
disease has progressed,” said Eirum Chaudhri, U.S. Director, Medical
Affairs, Hepatology, Merck. “This particularly has become an issue among
baby boomers who now may be experiencing complications from the disease.
In fact, given the high prevalence of infection in that population, the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control recently issued draft guidelines that
recommend all baby boomers receive a one-time screening for the
hepatitis C virus.”

American Liver Foundation will offer new hepatitis C resources

Through a grant provided by Merck, the American Liver Foundation has
developed Hepatitis C: Diagnosis, Treatment and Support – a
program that will offer multiple resources, including a patient hotline
and web-based micro-site that will provide information, education and
support for people diagnosed with hepatitis C. Available through the
American Liver Foundation’s home page, the micro-site will enable
visitors to obtain detailed information about hepatitis C, including
risk factors and what they need to know about their diagnosis, as well
as how to find support and resources. The patient hotline is already
available at 800-GO-LIVER (800-465-4837).

Check Hep C NYC aims to link diagnosis to medical care
and support

Hepatitis C infection is highly prevalent in New York City, with an
estimated 200,000 people infected with the virus. Merck recently
provided a grant to The Fund for Public Health in New York for Check
, a community-based initiative that aims to provide
prevention counseling, testing, and follow-on supportive resources to
New Yorkers who are at risk for or affected by chronic hep C. Developed
in partnership with New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
Office of Viral Hepatitis Coordination, Check Hep C NYC is
designed to provide a direct link for those who test positive for hep C
to comprehensive medical care and support services.

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
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