Merck & Co., Inc. Statement on Brazilian Government's Decision To Issue Compulsory License for Stocrin
"Merck is profoundly disappointed by the decision of the Government of Brazil (GOB) to issue a compulsory license for STOCRIN(TM) (efavirenz), which would break Merck & Co., Inc.'s patent and make it possible for efavirenz to be produced by a generic manufacturer.
"Merck has attempted to negotiate in good faith with the GOB, but a fair offer on STOCRIN has been rejected. While we remain flexible and committed to exploring a mutually acceptable agreement with the Brazilian government to help the country achieve its objective of universal access to treatment, we believe their action is not in the best interests of patients in Brazil and around the world.
"Merck continues to share with the GOB the common objective of improving the health and welfare of those living with HIV/AIDS. In fact, Merck's global HIV pricing policy offers Brazil access to both STOCRIN(TM) and CRIXIVAN(R) at the lowest price of any country with a comparable wealth and disease burden.
"This expropriation of intellectual property sends a chilling signal to research-based companies about the attractiveness of undertaking risky research on diseases that affect the developing world, potentially hurting patients who may require new and innovative life-saving therapies.
"Research and development-based pharmaceutical companies like Merck simply cannot sustain a situation in which the developed countries alone are expected to bear the cost for essential drugs in both least-developed countries and emerging markets. As such, we believe it is essential to price our medicines according to a country's level of development and HIV burden, thereby ensuring equitable access as well as our ability to invest in future innovative medicines. As the world's 12th largest economy, Brazil has a greater capacity to pay for HIV medicines than countries that are poorer or harder hit by the disease.
"This decision by the GOB will have a negative impact on Brazil's reputation as an industrialized country seeking to attract inward investment, and thus its ability to build world-class research and development.
"Merck hopes the government of Brazil will reconsider its stance in the interests of HIV patients around the world."
Merck & Co., Inc. is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first. Established in 1891, Merck currently discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines to address unmet medical needs. The Company devotes extensive efforts to increase access to medicines through far-reaching programs that not only donate Merck medicines but help deliver them to the people who need them. Merck also publishes unbiased health information as a not-for-profit service. For more information, visit www.merck.com.
This statement contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on management's current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties, which may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements. The forward-looking statements may include statements regarding product development, product potential or financial performance. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed and actual results may differ materially from those projected. Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in this statement should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect Merck's business, particularly those mentioned in the risk factors and cautionary statements in Item 1A of Merck's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2006, and in its periodic reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K, which the Company incorporates by reference.
For Merck & Co., Inc.
U.S. and Ex-Brazil Media:
Amy Rose, 908-423-6537
Graeme Bell, 908-423-5185
Local (Brazil) Media:
Joao Sanches, (55) 11-5189-7840
Posted: May 2007