Legendary Musician Gregg Allman Joins Merck and American Liver Foundation to Launch Tune In to Hep C Public Awareness Campaign

Benefit Concert to be Held in New York on July 27, the Eve of World Hepatitis Day

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., June 21, 2011 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Merck (NYSE: MRK) (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada) today announced that Rock 'n Roll Hall of Famer Gregg Allman will work together with the company and the American Liver Foundation on Tune In to Hep C, a public health campaign to help raise awareness of chronic hepatitis C virus infection. To help turn up the volume around hepatitis C a benefit concert featuring The Allman Brothers Band will be held in New York on July 27, the eve of World Hepatitis Day.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110621/NY23074LOGO )

This week marks the one-year anniversary of Allman's liver transplant, which he received after his liver had become damaged from chronic hepatitis C infection. Allman has returned to performing and recording music, and now wants to help raise awareness of hepatitis C.

"I'm excited to be working with Merck and the American Liver Foundation because there are many people who have been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C, but aren't taking action. I want to tell them, don't wait. Doing nothing is not an option; they need to talk with their doctor," said Allman, a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band. "I made the decision to take action and talk to my doctor, so that I could get back to making the music I love. I want others to take that action too, and if I can help make that happen, I've done my job."

Nearly 3.2 million Americans have chronic hepatitis C virus infection, a potentially serious disease that can damage the liver over time and lead to cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease and liver cancer. Many people infected with chronic hepatitis C do not know that they have the virus – approximately 60 to 80 percent of people infected with chronic hepatitis C virus do not have symptoms.

The American Liver Foundation (ALF) joined the Tune In to Hep C campaign to help elevate awareness of this important public health issue. ALF 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.

"We are thrilled to work with Merck and Gregg Allman to help educate and empower patients with chronic hepatitis C – this has been a focus of the American Liver Foundation for 35 years," said Newton Guerin, acting CEO and chief operating officer, ALF. "People don't often talk openly about their hepatitis C, which contributes to misinformation and isolation for those infected with the virus. Gregg's willingness to share his story will open the door for meaningful dialogue that can help reduce stigma and the lack of understanding surrounding chronic hepatitis C."

Merck recently announced the Hope Against Hepatitis C initiative, in which the company restated its long-standing commitment to supporting the hepatitis C community through a variety of public-private partnerships that will involve public education, patient support programs and collaborative research efforts. Working with Gregg Allman and the ALF is an example of this ongoing commitment.

"When a person like Gregg Allman comes forward to speak about his personal experience, it is extremely powerful, and we are grateful to him for his commitment to helping motivate other people with chronic hepatitis C to take action," said Mark Timney, president, Global Human Health - U.S. Market, Merck.

About the Benefit Concert

The concert, Tune In to Hep C Presents The Allman Brothers Band, will take place at The Beacon Theatre in New York City on July 27, the eve of World Hepatitis Day. The Beacon Theatre has special meaning for Allman, who has played there every year since 1991 with the exception of 2007, when the band had to cancel their performance because Allman was too ill from his chronic hepatitis C to play. Tickets will go on sale tomorrow, Wednesday, June 22 at 12:00PM EDT. Tickets are available at LiveNation.com, Ticketmaster.com, select Ticketmaster locations and charge by phone at 800-745-3000. Tickets also will be available at The Beacon Theatre box office beginning June 23.

Proceeds from the benefit concert will be donated to community-based organizations that provide education and support services to people with chronic hepatitis C.

About Gregg Allman

Allman is a legendary performer who is both a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band and a critically acclaimed solo artist. He has several gold records to his credit and his distinctive voice placed him on the Rolling Stone list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time." More than 40 years down the road, Allman still loves making and performing music as much as ever.

In addition to his singing and playing, Allman wrote many of The Allman Brothers Band's most memorable signature hits, including the classics "Whipping Post" and "Dreams" from their self-titled debut album, "Midnight Rider" and "Please Call Home" from their second album "Idlewild South," and "Melissa" from 1972's classic "Eat A Peach" album. The Allman Brothers Band went on to become the principal architects of Southern rock and were inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Allman's latest solo album "Low Country Blues" was released in 2011, debuting at No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200, the highest chart position of his solo career, and continues to gain critical acclaim and commercial success.

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.

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 www.merck.com.

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 (www.sec.gov).

SOURCE Merck

Posted: June 2011


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