Singer Jon Secada Joins Merck and American Liver Foundation’s ‘Tune In to Hep C’ Public Awareness Campaign


February 16, 2012 8:08 am ET

Secada Launches Bilingual Campaign to Motivate Hispanic Americans Affected by Chronic Hepatitis C — Joins Forces with Gregg Allman and Natalie Cole

Merck (NYSE: MRK) (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada)
today announced that three-time GRAMMY® award-winning Cuban-American
recording artist and songwriter Jon Secada is adding his voice to the Tune
In to Hep C
public health campaign to help raise awareness of
chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Secada revealed for the first
time today that his father recently passed away from complications
associated with chronic HCV infection, a disease that disproportionately
affects the Hispanic community. He hopes that sharing his family’s
personal experience through this bilingual awareness campaign will
activate Hispanic Americans with chronic HCV to take action and speak to
their doctors about their options.

Secada joins Merck, the American Liver Foundation (ALF) and fellow
GRAMMY® winners Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band and Natalie
Cole on the Tune In to Hep C initiative, which Merck and ALF
launched last year.

Chronic HCV is a viral infection of the liver that is potentially
serious and can damage the liver over time and lead to cirrhosis,
end-stage liver disease and liver cancer. Of the approximately 3.2
million Americans who have chronic HCV, an estimated one million are
Hispanic. Research has shown that complications due to chronic HCV
develop more quickly and result in more health issues in Hispanics when
compared to other ethnic groups, especially considering many people
infected with chronic HCV, Hispanic or non-Hispanic, do not know that
they have the virus – approximately 70 to 80 percent of people newly
infected with the virus do not have symptoms.

“My father chose not to tell anyone about his disease for a long time,
and he chose not to take action against it for reasons I may never
understand. Before he passed away, he told me that he wanted me to share
his story to help other people like him who have chronic hepatitis C but
aren’t taking action,” said Secada, who was unaware of his father’s
diagnosis for more than a decade. “You can’t be silent with a silent
disease that has consequences like chronic hepatitis C — you need to
talk to your doctor and talk to your family. Take it from me, the people
who love you want to be there to help you, and want you to be there for

The American Liver Foundation partnered with Merck on the Tune In to
Hep C
campaign to help address barriers that can keep people from
managing their disease, including lack of awareness and social stigma.
The American Liver Foundation is a national organization advocating for
those living with liver disease and their families, and provides
education, support and research for the prevention, treatment and cure
of liver disease.

“Chronic hepatitis C disproportionately affects the Hispanic community
but, unfortunately, there is stigma and low awareness of the disease and
its potential complications, so it is not widely discussed among
Hispanics in the U.S.,” said Newton Guerin, president and chief
executive officer, American Liver Foundation. “We hope Jon’s desire to
turn his family’s loss into a positive message for those who face this
disease will encourage them to take action.”

Information about chronic HCV in the Hispanic community, as well as
exclusive video of Secada telling his personal story, can be found on,
a Spanish-language website that launched today. Secada’s story, as well
as Allman and Cole’s, also can be found on the campaign’s English

“For more than 30 years, Merck has been committed to fighting chronic
HCV. That commitment extends beyond science and is part of our overall
mission to help people around the world be well,” said Mark Timney,
president, Global Human Health – U.S. Market, Merck. “We believe Jon’s
message is an important one that will motivate Hispanic Americans with
hepatitis C to take action and speak with their doctors, and we applaud
him for his efforts in this campaign.”

About Jon Secada

Secada is a three-time GRAMMY award-winning Cuban-American recording
artist and songwriter who has released a string of hits in both English
and Spanish. He has sold more than 20 million albums since his
self-titled debut album in 1992. Jon Secada (SBK/EMI) sold more
than six million copies worldwide and was certified triple platinum in
the U.S., where it reached No. 15 among Billboard Pop albums. He later
scored a No. 5 Pop hit with the Gold single “Just Another Day,” and
three more top 30 hits, “Angel,” “I’m Free,” and “Do You Believe in Us?”
The Spanish-language version of the album, Otro Dia Mas Sin Verte
(EMI-Latin), became the top Latin album of 1992 earning him his first
GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Pop Album.

Recently, Secada participated as a celebrity contestant on Univision’s
hit dance show “Mira Quien Balia” (Latin version of “Dancing with the
Stars”), and he released his highly anticipated new Spanish album, Otra
(YME Records/Universal), in February 2011. Secada is currently
working on his next English album, I’m Never Too Far Away, which
is expected to be released in 2012.

Secada’s father Jose was born in Cuba in 1928 and remained there until
1970 when he moved his family to the United States. After being
diagnosed with chronic HCV, he waited for more than 10 years to reveal
his diagnosis to his son. Jose Secada was a proud man who wanted to be
strong and provide for his family. He did not feel sick initially, so he
did not follow up with his doctor and never took action against his
disease. Ultimately, he began to experience complications, but did not
understand the potential consequences until it was too late and the
damage to his liver was irreparable. Before his father passed away in
November of 2011, Secada received his blessing to share their family’s
story to educate others about the disease.

About The American Liver Foundation

The American Liver Foundation (ALF) is the nation’s leading nonprofit
organization promoting liver health and disease prevention. ALF provides
research, education and advocacy for those affected by liver-related
diseases, including hepatitis. For more information, please visit
or call 1-800-GO-LIVER. Spanish speaking operators are available.

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
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