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Home Industry News MSD confirms river blindness funding initiative

MSD confirms river blindness funding initiative

6th December 2007

Merck, Sharpe and Dohme (MSD) has announced a partnership agreement with the World Bank for the launch of an initiative to raise $50 million (24 million pounds) to help eliminate river blindness in Africa.

MSD has pledged up to $25 million to tackle the public health problem, which is the leading cause of preventable blindness in Africa.

Over 100 million people, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, are at risk from the disease which causes intense itching, skin disfiguration and often permanent blindness from eye lesions.

The World Bank will work alongside MSD and other partners to raise the other $25 million with additional funding from other international bodies bringing the total aid to $70 million by 2015.

MSD chief executive officer Richard T Clark expressed the company’s delight in confirming the pledge which he said highlighted MSD’s commitment to donating Mectizan to those who need it for the treatment of river blindness.

“Only by harnessing the complementary skills and resources of the public and private sectors can we ensure that more than 100 million people will receive Mectizan annually,” he said.

Also this week, MSD announced a post-hoc analysis of data showing that Rotateq (rotavirus vaccine, live oral pentavalent) reduced hospitalisations and emergency department visits due to the G9P1A[8] rotavirus serotype by 100 per cent.

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