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Merck Grants License for Generic Efavirenz to South African Company Thembalami Pharmaceuticals
  WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--07/13/2004--Merck & Co., Inc., (the parent company of MSD (Pty) Ltd. South Africa) announced today that it has signed an agreement to grant a non-exclusive patent license for the manufacture and sale of a generic version of efavirenz to Thembalami Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Ltd., a local South African pharmaceutical company. This license covers South Africa and other countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and will apply to both the public and private sectors in these countries. Efavirenz is a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor used in combination therapy for the treatment of HIV infection, sold by MSD under the trademark STOCRIN(R).
With the support of MSD's product supply partner, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck is offering Thembalami a royalty-free license to help further the goal of improving access to HIV/AIDS care and treatment for the people of Southern Africa, consistent with Merck's non-profit pricing of STOCRIN for South Africa and the SADC region.
"Given the need for all stakeholders to join and work together to scale-up their response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, we are granting a license for efavirenz to support the South African government in its efforts to expand its treatment program, and to demonstrate MSD's continued commitment to partner with the South African government to help bring treatment and care to people living with HIV and AIDS," said Per Wold-Olsen, President, Human Health - Europe, Middle East and Africa, Merck & Co., Inc.
"In the poorest countries and those hardest hit by the HIV epidemic, including South Africa, MSD provides STOCRIN and CRIXIVAN(R) (indinavir), our protease inhibitor for the treatment of HIV infection, at prices at which we make no profit. MSD South Africa will continue to provide STOCRIN in South Africa and throughout the SADC region," said Chirfi Guindo, Chief Executive of MSD South Africa.
In addition, Thembalami has agreed to donate a portion of its proceeds from the sale of efavirenz to the MSD Msizi (Cares) Trust, a charitable trust established by MSD to further the fight against HIV/AIDS in South Africa through the provision of preventative and education programs. Sotse Segoneco, the CEO of Thembalami, will become a member of the Board of Trustees of the Trust.
"We're pleased that through this partnership with Thembalami, we will be able to provide an additional source of supply for efavirenz, in line with the South African Government's goals, and also support capacity building programs that will help the Government in the implementation of the national comprehensive plan to tackle the challenges of HIV and AIDS in this country," Mr. Guindo added.
"By granting us a royalty-free license, MSD has once again demonstrated their ongoing commitment to broadening access to antiretroviral medicines in South Africa. I commend MSD for their leadership," said Ms. Sotse Segoneco, CEO of Thembalami.
About Merck & Co., Inc. and MSD (Pty) Ltd.
Merck & Co., Inc. located in Whitehouse Station, N.J., U.S.A., also known as Merck, Sharp & Dohme (MSD) in countries outside the United States, is a global research-driven pharmaceutical products company. Merck discovers, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of innovative products to improve human and animal health, directly and through its joint ventures.
MSD (Pty) Ltd. is the South African subsidiary of Merck & Co, Inc., based in Midrand.
Forward-Looking Statement
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve risks and uncertainties, which may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements. The forward-looking statements include statements regarding product development. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed, and actual results may differ materially from those projected. We undertake 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 press release should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect Merck's business, particularly those mentioned in the cautionary statements in Item 1 of our Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2003, and in our periodic reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K (if any), which Merck incorporates by reference.
CONTACT:Merck & Co., Inc. Media Contact: Chris Loder, 908-423-3786 Investor Contact: Mark Stejbach, 908-423-5185 International: Samir A. Khalil, 908-423-6440 or 011-32-474-994-180
SOURCE: Merck & Co., Inc.
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