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Merck Strengthens Its Commitment to Advancing Cardiovascular Health Care

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov 14, 2009 - Following the completion of its merger with Schering-Plough, Merck today confirms and underscores its commitment to marketing and developing cardiovascular medicines for a range of cardiovascular disorders.

"Today's Merck has a robust portfolio and pipeline of cardiovascular medicines for conditions ranging from heart disease to metabolic syndrome. More than ever, our new company is committed to improving patient outcomes and providing comprehensive solutions to prevent and treat heart disease," said Peter S. Kim, Ph.D., president, Merck Research Laboratories. "We're confident more can be done through science and education to save and improve the lives of people suffering from cardiovascular disease." Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally. More people die annually from cardiovascular diseases than from any other cause.

The company's renewed commitment builds on a deep heritage of scientific excellence in cardiovascular medicine. In the past 50 years, Merck and Schering-Plough have, when combined, introduced more than 40 products targeting cardiovascular diseases. Today's Merck offers a range of products and tools for cholesterol management and hypertension to address the needs of diverse patient types. We also are transforming how our commercial organization interacts with health care providers and patients by aligning those interactions around the common goal of improving patient outcomes.

Developing Breakthrough Cardiovascular Medicines

Today's Merck is investing billions of dollars annually in research and development. More than 1,000 of our scientists and professionals are engaged in the fight against heart disease, and the companies' combined pipeline creates a strong and promising future of breakthrough cardiovascular medicines. Our researchers are using diverse science -- from integrated genomics to experimental medicine -- to identify novel targets and to map the links between heart disease and illnesses like diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Our mid- to late-stage pipeline includes more than eight innovative investigational candidates for the treatment of a wide range of cardiovascular diseases including atherosclerosis, atrial fibrillation and thrombosis, ischemic reperfusion injury and hypertension.

Merck also continues to lead the way in implementing large clinical studies with the potential to advance understanding of the role of medicines in cardiovascular outcomes and has over six large cardiovascular outcomes trials underway.

"No other health care company is doing more to study cardiovascular disease than today's Merck," said Dr. Kim. "Our outcomes trials alone include more than 90,000 patients and are being conducted in approximately 40 countries. And, we have more than 50 other ongoing trials focused on testing investigational medicines for cardiovascular disease."

Collaborating and Partnering to Advance Cardiovascular Care

Today's Merck is strengthening and forming new strategic alliances to advance cardiovascular research and development. The company has ongoing cardiovascular collaborations with Actelion Pharmaceuticals, Arena Pharmaceuticals, Cardiome Pharma Corp., Galapagos NV, NicOx, Mochida Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Millennium, PeriCor Therapeutics, Inc., Portola Pharmaceuticals, and Xenon Pharmaceuticals. Merck also is partnering with academic institutions such as Oxford University; Duke Clinical Research Institute; Harvard University, The TIMI Study Group, Brigham and Women's Hospital; Columbia University, Atherosclerosis Research Center; University of Pennsylvania; Baylor School of Medicine, University of Washington; and Montreal Heart Institute. In addition Merck is a founding member of the HRP Initiative, a joint research and development effort to advance the understanding, recognition and management of high-risk plaque.

"Innovation depends on thousands of scientists building on each other's breakthroughs and scientific collaboration speeds up the innovative process," said Dr. Kim. "Merck has a renewed sense of urgency and focus and, through new and existing collaborations, we will bring resources to the best external science wherever it emerges."

Improving Patient Outcomes with Education and Philanthropy

Today's Merck is committed to improving cardiovascular care through medical education, and philanthropy. The company supports a variety of patient, medical and scientific education initiatives for the purpose of helping health care professionals achieve improved cardiovascular outcomes for their patients.

For example, Merck supports American Heart Association (AHA) initiatives such as the Pharmaceutical Roundtable, Go Red For Women, and the AHA Annual Scientific Sessions. Additionally, we have supported the American College of Cardiology's Fellowship program for nearly 30 years as well as the Future Leaders in CV Medical Research for the past four years.

Since 2008, the company has taken important steps to increase the public's level of knowledge and understanding of how Merck supports and advances medical and scientific education. Merck believes that increasing the visibility of its educational and philanthropic activities across all aspects will enhance the public trust in the company and increase the level of knowledge and understanding of how Merck helps advance medical and scientific education and health care overall.

"Our reputation, and the trust that health care providers and patients place in us, depends in large part on how we conduct ourselves as a business," said Dr. Kim. "We strive to operate openly and transparently in everything we do and to apply the highest standards of ethics and scientific integrity to everything we do."

Merck also is fighting cardiovascular disease by helping uninsured and financially-struggling patients who lack prescription coverage gain access Merck's patient assistance programs (PAP). Merck's PAP provides free or discounted medicines for chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes. In 2008 alone, approximately 1.5 million prescriptions were filled under the Merck Patient Assistance Program. More information about Merck's PAP is available at www.merckhelps.com.

About Merck

Today's Merck is working to help the world be well. Through our medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer and animal 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 health care through far-reaching programs that donate and deliver our products to the people who need them. Merck. Be Well. 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 proposed 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 and Schering-Plough'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, due to, among other things, the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and pending legislation that could affect the pharmaceutical industry; 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 U.S. 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 2008 Annual Report on Form 10-K, Schering-Plough's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended Sept. 30, 2009, the proxy statement filed by Merck on June 25, 2009 and each company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC's Internet site (www.sec.gov).

 

Contact: Merck
Media:
Ronald Rogers, 1-908-391-4302
Ian R. McConnell, 1-973-901-5722
OR
Investors:
Carol Ferguson, 1-908-423-4465
Joe Romanelli, 1-908-423-5088

 

Posted: November 2009


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