Merck Recognizes World Hepatitis Day With Partnerships and Grants to Support Global Hepatitis C Community


July 28, 2011 7:08 am ET

Tune In to Hep C Benefit Concert Raises Over $250,000 for Community-Based Groups Supporting People with Chronic Hepatitis C

In support of World Hepatitis Day today, Merck (NYSE: MRK) (known as MSD
outside the United States and Canada) reported updates on three
patient-focused programs to support the hepatitis C community. These
programs are part of the company’s Hope Against Hepatitis C
initiative, Merck’s ongoing commitment to increase awareness, prevention
and diagnosis of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. They are the
latest examples of how Merck is working to deliver on its mission to
help the world be well.

Approximately 130 – 170 million people worldwide are chronically
infected with hepatitis C, a potentially serious disease that can damage
the liver over time and lead to cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease and
liver cancer. In the United States, chronic hepatitis C is the most
common blood-borne viral disease; approximately 3.2 million Americans
have chronic HCV infection.

While rates of new infection for chronic hepatitis C are dropping, the
number of people with existing infection who are starting to develop
serious complications, such as advanced liver disease and liver cancer,
is expected to increase over the next 10 to 20 years. As a result, there
is a growing need for increased awareness and education to help ensure
people with chronic HCV infection are diagnosed and seek the care of a

Tune In to Hep C Benefit Concert Raises funds for ALF
and NVHR

Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame legend Gregg Allman and GRAMMY® winner Natalie
Cole performed last night at the Tune In to Hep C benefit concert
in New York, raising more than $250,000 to support testing, awareness
programs, and services for people with chronic HCV infection. The
proceeds will be provided to the American Liver Foundation (ALF) and the
National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR). Special guests who performed
at the concert included Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead; David Crosby and
Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills and Nash; and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, who
came out to support the cause and help turn up the volume around chronic
hepatitis C. The Allman Brothers Band headlined the event to support
Allman in his efforts to raise awareness of chronic hepatitis C.

The concert was part of Tune In to Hep C, an awareness campaign
recently launched by Merck and ALF to drive awareness of this silent and
progressive disease, and encourage people to talk to their doctors or
healthcare providers about their options. To help drive this message,
attendees at the concert previewed a new public service announcement
(PSA) featuring Allman, which is set to hit the airwaves in the coming
weeks. To view the PSA and learn more about the awareness campaign,
please visit

“The outpouring of community support around the campaign and the benefit
concert has been remarkable, and we are grateful for the generous
contribution, which will go towards helping people at risk and those
infected with the chronic hepatitis C virus,” said Newton Guerin, acting
CEO and chief operating officer, ALF. “However, the night was about more
than the money being raised. It was about changing the negative
perception of chronic hepatitis C and reminding all of us that as
individuals and communities, we must take action to fight this serious
public health issue.”

“I was diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C more than 10 years ago, when
it was relatively unknown and rarely discussed,” said Martha Saly,
director of NVHR and former hepatitis C sufferer. “That changed last
night when all those legendary voices came together to encourage people
with hepatitis C to not let stigma or fear stand in the way of talking
to their doctor.”

Step Up to The Plate Against Hepatitis C Testing
Initiative Takes Place at Ballparks

To encourage more people to get tested for hepatitis C, Merck, in
partnership with ALF, Coalition on Positive Health Empowerment and
OraSure Technologies (Nasdaq: OSUR), has launched Step Up to The
Plate Against Hepatitis C
. Working with participating baseball teams
in Chicago, Houston and St. Louis, this initiative will offer free
hepatitis C testings and educational information at baseball stadiums to
encourage people to get educated on the facts and tested for hepatitis C.

Testing events already scheduled include:

— Chicago Cubs: August 6th, August 23rd

— Chicago White Sox: August 21st, September 8th, September 13th

— Houston Astros: August 20th, September 13th, September 23rd

— St. Louis Cardinals: August 22nd, September 5th, September 24th

To learn more about Step Up to The Plate Against Hepatitis C and other
testing dates, please visit

Support for Global Hepatitis Initiatives

To further support World Hepatitis Day, Merck has provided a grant to
the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA), 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 organization is
embarking on a variety of public education, awareness and policy
initiatives to combat stigma and discrimination, while working toward
developing a global viral hepatitis strategy with the World Health

“Merck has been working in the hepatitis C field for 30 years, and we
take our commitment to the community very seriously as a key part of our
efforts to help the world be well,” said Patrick Bergstedt, senior vice
president and general manager, Infectious Diseases, Global Human Health,
Merck. “It is our hope that these programs, conducted in partnership
with the global public health community, will have a lasting and
meaningful impact on the prevention, diagnosis and management of chronic
hepatitis C.”

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
more information, visit

Forward-Looking Statement

This news release includes “forward-looking statements” within the
meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements may include,
but are not limited to, statements about the benefits of the merger
between Merck and Schering-Plough, including future financial and
operating results, the combined company’s plans, objectives,
expectations and intentions and other statements that are not historical
facts. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and
expectations of Merck’s management and are subject to significant risks
and uncertainties. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the
forward-looking statements.

The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to
differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements: the
possibility that the expected synergies from the merger of Merck and
Schering-Plough will not be realized, or will not be realized within the
expected time period; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation
and health care legislation; the risk that the businesses will not be
integrated successfully; disruption from the merger making it more
difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; Merck’s
ability to accurately predict future market conditions; dependence on
the effectiveness of Merck’s patents and other protections for
innovative products; the risk of new and changing regulation and health
policies in the United States and internationally and the exposure to
litigation and/or regulatory actions.

Merck 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 Merck’s 2010 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 (

Editor’s Note: For more information on Tune In to Hep C
and Step Up to the Plate Against Hepatitis C, please contact
Diann Rohde of the American Liver Foundation at (646) 737-9404.

American Liver Foundation
Diann Rohde, 646-737-9404

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