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Merck Congratulates Guatemala as Fourth Country in Latin America to Achieve WHO Verification of Elimination of River Blindness

KENILWORTH, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, commends the government of Guatemala on being the fourth country in Latin America to receive World Health Organization (WHO) verification of the elimination of river blindness (onchocerciasis). This announcement comes one year after the international coalition, formed by The Carter Center, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), WHO and Merck’s MECTIZAN Donation Program, urged for the final push to eliminate onchocerciasis from the Americas.

The government of Guatemala worked in partnership with the MECTIZAN Donation Program, PAHO, WHO and The Carter Center’s Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas (OEPA), to eliminate onchocerciasis – one of the leading causes of preventable blindness worldwide – using MECTIZAN® (ivermectin), donated by Merck. With this verification, four of the six countries in the Americas historically at-risk for river blindness have verified elimination of the disease.

“We celebrate this important achievement with the people of Guatemala. River blindness is a debilitating disease that affects individuals and their families, as well as the larger health care system and the economy,” said Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer of Merck. “Until river blindness is entirely eliminated around the world, we remain committed to working with our partners in the fight against this preventable disease.”

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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 river blindness is eliminated as a public health problem. The MECTIZAN Donation Program reaches more than 100 million people annually for river blindness. In Latin America, since 1989, more than 11 million treatments of donated MECTIZAN have been delivered by community health workers and non-governmental organizations. Learn more at www.mectizan.org.

About Merck

For 125 years, Merck has been a global health care 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 health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA

This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the “company”) includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the company’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company 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 the company’s 2015 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).

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