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DHL and Merck Sharp & Dohme Team Up to Bring HIV Medicines to African Patients

Pressmeddelande   •   Maj 05, 2004 14:07 CEST

Leaders in Air Express Delivery and Pharmaceutical Innovation Collaborate to Expand Access to HIV Care and Treatment

DHL and Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) today announced that they have signed an agreement that commits them to work together to expand access to critically-needed HIV medicines throughout sub-Saharan Africa, one of the regions hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

To help HIV-infected patients gain access to antiretroviral therapy, MSD has made its antiretroviral medicines, CRIXIVAN (indinavir sulfate) and STOCRIN (efavirenz), available in sub-Saharan Africa since 2001 at prices at which the company does not profit. Under the terms of the agreement, DHL has made a commitment to deliver MSD’s medicines at cost by air express to designated treatment centres in two dozen countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa. A letter of intent was signed today in Amsterdam, and shipping will commence soon under the new terms. The companies will now work out the details to ensure that the partnership achieves positive impact and that progress is monitored.

“Given the urgency of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the need for all stakeholders to scale up their response, collaboration is critical,” said Per Wold-Olsen, President, Human Health -- Europe, Middle East & Africa, Merck & Co., Inc. “DHL has been an important partner for MSD’s access initiatives. They have established a superb track record for securely shipping MSD medicines in 48 hours to most African destinations. We are delighted that DHL will be working even more closely with us to help bring our medicines to the patients who need them.”

MSD’s antiretroviral drugs are delivered quickly and safely from MSD’s manufacturing facility in The Netherlands to these developing countries through DHL’s reliable air express services. The new agreement continues to build upon the existing collaboration between DHL and MSD, combining the core capabilities of the two companies to ensure rapid and flexible supply for the benefit of patients at designated treatment centres in Africa.

Efficient and robust delivery systems are widely agreed to be a key building block for expanded access to antiretroviral care and treatment in Africa – to ensure adequate and uninterrupted supply, while minimizing the risks of diversion, theft, or replacement by counterfeits. This partnership between DHL and MSD represents a crucial stepping stone in this process.

“This is the first time that DHL has teamed up in a formal partnership with a research-based pharmaceutical company to help combat HIV/AIDS,” said Uwe Doerken, Chief Executive Officer of DHL. “MSD provides cutting-edge antiretroviral drugs, and we have the logistical expertise and an extensive distribution network throughout Africa to ensure that those medicines get delivered to treatment centres at the lowest possible cost. It’s a natural match for two strong business partners, and reinforces DHL’s commitment to Corporate Citizenship and the Lifesciences industry.”

Doerken continued: “A healthy workforce is crucial to a healthy business and a healthy society provides the engine for growth of a nation's wealth. The progress of business and society go hand in hand and for DHL this means that we will work in partnership with others, harnessing our core competence in express and logistics wherever we can to fight disease and poverty – the enemies of tomorrow's business.”

The number of HIV patients in Africa receiving antiretroviral treatments provided by the companies in the UN/Industry Accelerating Access Initiative (including MSD) doubled from around 75,000 to more than 150,000 in the last six months of 2003.
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For more information, please contact:

Merck Sharp & Dohme
Theo van Dijk or Jeffrey L. Sturchio
+31 23 515 3625 +1 908 423-3981

DHL
Richard Corriette
+32 2 713 4930



About DHL

With annual revenues of nearly €22 billion in 2003, DHL is the global market leader of the international express and logistics industry, specializing in providing innovative and customized solutions from a single source.

DHL offers expertise in express, air and ocean freight, overland transport and logistics solutions, combined with worldwide coverage and an in-depth understanding of local markets. DHL's international network links more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. Over 160,000 employees are dedicated to providing fast and reliable services that exceed customers' expectations.

DHL is 100% owned by Deutsche Post World Net.

DHL’s commitment to corporate citizenship is summed up in to Deutsche Post World Net (DPWN) Corporate Values as: “We are committed to goals that generate benefits for the communities where we work. We respect the traditions, structures and values of the countries where we operate. The protection of the environment is part of our corporate strategy. We promote our employees’ social commitment” DPWN Corporate Value 7 Social Responsibilities


For information about Corporate Citizenship at DHL see
www.dhl.com/corporatecitizenship


About Merck Sharp & Dohme

Merck Sharp & Dohme or MSD is the name Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA, uses for conducting its business in all countries outside the United States and Canada (except Japan, where Merck operates as Banyu).

Merck & Co., Inc. is a global, research-driven pharmaceutical company that discovers, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of human and animal health products, directly and through its joint ventures.

MSD supports a broad range of activities to improve access to life-saving medicines in developing countries. MSD continues to focus on traditional areas of strength: research and development into new medicines and vaccines that will serve the largest population in the most effective manner. A robust HIV vaccine research and development program is the longest and most intensive in the Company’s history.

MSD is also undertaking initiatives and establishing partnerships with community organizations, multilateral agencies, other private sector enterprises, and other stakeholders to address the impact of infectious diseases (especially HIV/AIDS) in a variety of resource-scarce settings. For more information on these initiatives, see http://www.merck.com/about/cr/policies_performance/social/medicines_developing.html.

The Merck/Gates/Botswana Partnership (also known as the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnership or ACHAP) is a ground-breaking, comprehensive initiative to help Botswana transform its approach to the HIV epidemic across the spectrum of prevention, care, treatment and support. Today, Botswana leads the way in HIV treatment in Africa, with nearly 25,000 people enrolled in the national program.

For more information, see www.achap.org.

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