Merck Congratulates Ecuador as Second Country to Receive PAHO/WHO Verification of Elimination of River Blindness

Friday, October 3, 2014 9:00 am EDT



Public Company Information:

"Merck is proud to be a part of a committed and effective alliance that continues to work toward the ultimate goal of eliminating river blindness globally."

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, applauds the government of Ecuador on being the second country in the world to receive World Health Organization (WHO) verification of the elimination of river blindness (onchocerciasis) using MECTIZAN® (ivermectin).

Ecuador worked in partnership with the MECTIZAN Donation Program and The Carter Center-sponsored Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas, as well as the Pan American Health Organization, the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), to eliminate onchocerciasis – one of the leading causes of preventable blindness worldwide.

“We celebrate the achievement of this critical milestone with the people of Ecuador and the MECTIZAN Donation Program and its partners. The verification of Ecuador as the second country in the world to eliminate the transmission of river blindness is a highly motivating development because it reminds us of what is possible,” said Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer of Merck. “Merck is proud to be a part of a committed and effective alliance that continues to work toward the ultimate goal of eliminating river blindness globally.”

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About the MECTIZAN Donation Program

In October 1987, Merck announced it would donate the medication MECTIZAN to all who need it for as long as necessary until onchocerciasis is eliminated as a public health problem. The MECTIZAN Donation Program reaches more than 150 million people annually.

In Latin America, since 1989, more than 13 million treatments of donated MECTIZAN have been delivered by community health workers and non-governmental organizations.

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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 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 and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

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Jennifer Woodruff, 267-305-3550