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Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Release: VICTRELIS(TM) Now Available for Eligible Patients in British Columbia


3/27/2012 10:09:55 AM

Province to reimburse new chronic hepatitis C treatment

MONTREAL, March 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - BC PharmaCare recently announced the reimbursement of VICTRELIS (boceprevir) for eligible British Columbians living with chronic hepatitis C.

Boceprevir is a first-in-class oral hepatitis C virus (HCV) protease inhibitor for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C genotype 1 infection. It is to be used in combination with peginterferon alpha and ribavirin (peg/riba) in adult patients (18 years and older) with compensated liver disease, including cirrhosis, who are previously untreated or who have failed previous therapy.1 When added to peg/riba, boceprevir can significantly increase a patient's chance of clearing the virus from the body.2,3 The treatment was authorized for use in Canada in July 2011.

"This is most welcome news as British Columbia has one of the heaviest burdens of chronic hepatitis C in Canada," says Dr. Eric Yoshida, hepatologist and Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. "Boceprevir represents a major advance in the treatment of this infection. We now have the ability to cure this disease for a majority of patients, and therefore reduce the risk of premature mortality from end-stage cirrhosis and liver cancer. British Columbia is the third province to offer patients with chronic hepatitis C infection public access to this potentially life-saving treatment."

Eligibility criteria for boceprevir can be accessed through the following link:
http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/pharmacare/sa/criteria/restricted/boceprevir.html

Hepatitis C in Canada and British Columbia
An estimated 250,000 individuals in Canada are infected with HCV and there are 3,200 to 5,000 newly infected individuals each year.4 About 2,500 new cases of HCV are identified in British Columbia each year.5 HCV damages the liver and may lead to serious complications, including death, when left untreated.6 It is the leading cause of liver transplants in Canada.7

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 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 healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information about our operations in Canada, visit www.merck.ca.

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 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 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; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation; 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 United States 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 2011 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).

TM Trademark of Schering Corporation, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. Used under license.

1 VICTRELIS, Product Monograph, July 27, 2011, p. 3.
2 Poordad, F., et al., for the SPRINT-2 Investigators. Boceprevir for Untreated Chronic HCV Genotype 1 Infection. N Engl J Med 2011; 364:1195-1206, page 1195.
3 Bacon, B.R., et al., for the HCV RESPOND-2 Investigators. Boceprevir for Previously Treated Chronic HCV Genotype 1 Infection. N Engl J Med 2011; 364:1207-1217, p. 1207.
4 Canadian Institutes of Health Research. About the Hep C Research Initiative. http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/38855.html. Accessed November 2, 2011.
5 HealthLinkBC. http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/dietitian/hfile40a.stm. Accessed March 15, 2011.
6 Public Health Agency of Canada. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hepc/pubs/multiling-hepc/index-eng.php. Accessed November 2, 2011.
7 Canadian Liver Foundation. http://www.liver.ca/Liver_Disease/. Accessed November 2, 2011.


SOURCE MERCK


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