Alberta reimburses new treatment to help prevent nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients



    MONTREAL, Oct. 2 /CNW Telbec/ - Cancer patients living in Alberta now
have better access to EMEND(TM) (aprepitant) an oral medicine for prevention
of nausea and vomiting triggered by some types of chemotherapy. The government
of Alberta has included EMEND(TM) (aprepitant) on the Alberta Health and
Wellness Drug Benefit List effective October 1, 2008. Aprepitant will be
reimbursed as a first line agent for the prevention of acute and delayed
nausea and vomiting due to highly emetogenic cancer chemotherapy (HEC) and in
women due to treatment with moderately emetogenic cancer chemotherapy (MEC)
consisting of cyclophosphamide and anthracycline when prescribed by the
Directors of Alberta Cancer Care Board (or their designates). Discovered and
developed by Merck, aprepitant is the first in a new class of medicines
(neurokinin-1 (NK1) receptor antagonist), indicated in combination with
additional therapies for the prevention of acute and delayed nausea and
vomiting triggered by chemotherapy.
    "This new addition to the Drug Benefit List will provide better access to
aprepitant to cancer patients living in Alberta," said Merck Frosst Canada
Ltd. "We hope that other provinces will also include this treatment on their
drug formularies to improve the quality of life of patients experiencing
chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting."
    Reducing chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, contributes to the
success of cancer therapy by preventing dehydration and permitting the
continued, timely administration of optimal doses of chemotherapy which can
make a real difference for these patients. Beginning on the first day of the
first cycle of chemotherapy, aprepitant is added to an antiemetic treatment
regimen intended to reduce or eliminate nausea and vomiting in patients
receiving highly and moderately emetogenic chemotherapy.(1)

    Nausea and vomiting remain a significant burden for cancer patients

    Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting remains a significant, cancer
care-limiting problem despite the development of new treatment entities in the
last 12 years.(2) In the absence of anti-emetic prophylaxis, chemotherapy
agents with highly emetogenic potential will cause chemotherapy-induced nausea
and vomiting in over 90% of patients receiving them.

    Information about EMEND(TM)

    EMEND(TM) (aprepitant) was approved by Health Canada in October 2007 and
is indicated in combination with a 5-HT3 antagonist class of antiemetics and
dexamethasone for the prevention of acute and delayed nausea and vomiting due
to highly emetogenic cancer chemotherapy and for the prevention of nausea and
vomiting in women due to treatment with moderately emetogenic cancer
chemotherapy consisting of cyclophosphamide and anthracycline.(1) The
recommended dosing regimen is EMEND(TM) 125 mg orally 1 hour prior to
chemotherapy treatment (Day 1) and 80 mg once daily in the morning on Days 2
and 3.(1)

    About Merck Frosst Canada Ltd.

    At Merck Frosst, patients come first. Merck Frosst Canada Ltd. is a
research-driven pharmaceutical company discovering, developing and marketing a
broad range of innovative medicines and vaccines to improve human health.
Merck Frosst is one of the top 25 R&D investors in Canada, with an investment
of close to $110 million in 2007. More information about Merck Frosst and
EMEND(TM) is available at www.merckfrosst.com

    Forward-looking statement

    This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is
defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These
statements are based on management's current expectations and involve risks
and uncertainties, which may cause results to differ materially from those set
forth in the statements. The forward-looking statements may include statements
regarding product development, product potential or financial performance. No
forward-looking statement can be guaranteed, and actual results may differ
materially from those projected. Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly
update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information,
future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in this press release
should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect Merck's
business, particularly those mentioned in the cautionary statements in Item 1A
of Merck's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2007, and in its periodic
reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K, which the Company incorporates by
reference.

    
    -------------------------
    (1) EMEND(TM) Product Monograph

    (2) Lachaine J, Yelle L, Kaizer L, Dufour A, Hopkins S, Deuson R.
        Chemotherapy-induced emesis: quality of life and economic impact in
        the context of current practice in Canada. Supportive Cancer Therapy
        2005;2:181-7.
    




For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Martine Drolet, Merck Frosst
Canada Ltd., (514) 428-3037, (514) 833-6780


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