Asthma Patients Get Another Fully Funded Treatment Option
New Zealand asthma patients will now have another fully funded treatment option thanks to Pharmac reimbursing SINGULAIR (montelukast sodium) from 1 August 2012. New Zealand has one of the highest prevalence rates of asthma in the world, second only to the UK, with 15–20% of people being affected. In 2001; one in every 200 deaths was attributed to From 1 August 2012, Pharmac will fully fund SINGULAIR under special authority criteria which includes pre-school wheeze and patients being treated with maximal asthma therapy but still experiencing frequent episodes of exercise induced asthma. SINGULAIR belongs to a class of medications called leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRAs) and is the first LTRA funded in New Zealand. LTRAs work by binding to and inhibiting specific receptors within the airway which cause inflammation. SINGULAIR is not an inhaler, but is instead, a once daily chewable tablet for children and an easy to swallow tablet for adults, which can be taken with or without food. Prof Rohan Ameratunga, at Auckland City Hospital, says, "This is great news for people with asthma as there are many people whose asthma is not well controlled." Dr Anthony Jordan, at Auckland City Hospital, adds, "The Patient Outcomes Management Survey (POMS) found that the vast majority of New Zealand patients did not have well- controlled asthma – 71% had asthma that was not well controlled and 19% were classified as 1 Holt S, Beasley R. The burden of asthma in New Zealand. Published by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand, 2002. SINGULAIR® is a registered trademark of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. 2 Pharmac funding criteria having asthma that was markedly out of control. Despite this, 80% of patients were satisfied with their level of asthma control and 76% thought that their asthma was well-controlled ." SINGULAIR is made available in New Zealand by Merck Sharp & Dohme (New Zealand) Ltd. The New Zealand Director, Paul Smith, says, "SINGULAIR has been prescribed in over 110 million patients worldwide since 1998, and we are delighted that Pharmac has now agreed to fund it and make it more accessible to New Zealanders. "Unfortunately asthma rates in New Zealand are continuing to climb and hospitalisations have more than doubled in the last thirty years; therefore access to new medications which help asthmatics keep their asthma controlled is vital.” For further information please contact:
Merck Sharp & Dohme (New Zealand) Limited Please note the Minimum Product Information is contained in the following pages:

SINGULAIR (montelukast) 4mg chewable tablets, 5mg chewable tablets, 10mg tablets. Prescription Only Medicine. Use:
SINGULAIR is for use in adults and children (2-15 yrs) for the prevention and chronic treatment of asthma, including the prevention 3 POMS Steering Committee. Asthma morbidity, control and treatment in New Zealand: results of the Patient Outcomes Management Survey (POMS), 2001. 4 Data on file, MSD .a3rd party analysis of IMS data including ages 6 months and older. IMS Midas Sales, IMS National Disease and Therapeutic Index (NDTI) and Thomson Reuters MedStat, IMS data accessed June 2011. All rights reserved. 5 Holt S, Beasley R. The burden of asthma in New Zealand. Published by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand, 2002. of daytime and night-time symptoms and the prevention of exercise-induced bronchospasm (narrowing of airways), and for the relief of daytime and night-time symptoms of seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis. When not to use: SINGULAIR should not be taken
in patients who have a hypersensitivity reaction to any of the ingredients. Precautions: SINGULAIR should not be used to treat
acute asthma attacks. Inhaled or oral corticosteroids if appropriate should be reduced gradually. Common side effects: abdominal
pain, headache and thirst. SINGULAIR is fully funded – under special authority for those who meet specified criteria.
SINGULAIR may be taken with or without food. Interactions: N/A Based on datasheet prepared 20 April 2010. Supplied by: Merck
Sharp & Dohme (NZ) Limited, Newmarket, Auckland. For additional product information, consult the data sheet and/or Consumer Medicine Information (CMI), available on request (phone 0800 500 673) or at the Medsafe website 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 prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care 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 healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. 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 all of 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 in the United States and internationally; Merck’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation and/or regulatory 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 RESP-1049455-0000 First issued 31 July 2012 TAPS PP2629  


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