GARDASIL(TM) now recommended by National Vaccine Advisory Committee



    
       Value of routine vaccination against cervical cancer confirmed

    MONTREAL, Jan. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - The National Advisory Committee on
Immunization (NACI) has issued its statement today on the recommended use of
the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in Canada. Namely:

    - GARDASIL(TM) is recommended for females between 9 and 13 years of age
      as this is before the onset of sexual intercourse for most females in
      Canada, and the efficacy would be greatest.

    - GARDASIL(TM) is recommended for females between the ages of 14 and
      26 years, even if they are already sexually active, as they may not yet
      have HPV infection and are very unlikely to have been infected with all
      four HPV types (6, 11, 16, 18) in the vaccine.

    - GARDASIL(TM) is recommended for females between the ages of 14 and
      26 years who have had previous Pap abnormalities, including cervical
      cancer, or have had genital warts or known HPV infection.

    The NACI statement goes on to highlight that while GARDASIL(TM) has been
shown to be highly effective against cancer precursors caused by HPV-16 and
18, these two types of HPV are responsible for about 70% of cervical cancer.
Women who have been vaccinated will still be susceptible to other HPV types
that cause cervical cancer. Even if those types are less prevalent than HPV-16
or 18 these women should still expect to take part in the currently
recommended cervical cancer screening programs.
    GARDASIL(TM), the first and only vaccine uniquely designed to prevent
cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancer as well as genital warts, was approved by
Health Canada last summer.
    "A positive step to protect the future health of Canadian girls and young
women against HPV-related diseases was taken when Health Canada approved
GARDASIL(TM) on the merit of its clinical results. The NACI recommendation
reconfirms and recognizes the great value and potential of this vaccine," said
Christian Blouin, Director of Public Health Policy and Government Relations at
Merck Frosst Canada.
    "To ensure that the promise of HPV-related cancer prevention is fulfilled,
the federal government should maintain its leadership role in helping the
provinces rapidly implement these important recommendations by extending and
increasing funding to the National Immunization Strategy (NIS)," continued Mr.
Blouin. "Such leadership will avoid returning to the patchwork approach that
existed prior to the NIS and will ensure equitable and seamless access to HPV
vaccination for Canadian girls and young women from coast to coast."

    Vaccine highly effective at preventing cervical cancer and genital warts

    Specifically developed to target HPV types (6, 11, 16, 18) that cause
90 per cent of genital warts and 70 per cent of anogenital cancers and
high-grade pre-cancers, GARDASIL(TM) was evaluated in clinical trials and
results of these trials showed prevention of:

    - 100 per cent of HPV 16- and 18-related cervical pre-cancers and non-
      invasive cervical cancers
    - 99 per cent of cases of genital warts caused by HPV 6 or 11
    - 100 per cent of HPV 16- and 18-related vulvar and vaginal pre-cancers

    A recent study on the economic and health burden of HPV infection and
associated diseases showed that only eight Canadian women need to be
vaccinated in order to prevent one case of genital warts and 639 women to
prevent one cervical cancer death.(1)

    About NACI

    The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is a committee of
recognized experts in the fields of pediatrics, infectious diseases,
immunology, medical microbiology, internal medicine and public health. The
Committee reports to the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, and works with
departmental staff of the Centre for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control
of the Public Health Agency of Canada to provide ongoing and timely medical,
scientific and public health advice. NACI makes recommendations for the use of
vaccines approved in Canada and also advises on the need for national
vaccination strategies.

    About Merck Frosst

    At Merck Frosst, patients come first. Merck Frosst Canada Ltd. is a
research-driven pharmaceutical company. Merck Frosst discovers, develops and
markets a broad range of innovative medicines to improve human health. Merck
Frosst is one of the top 20 R&D investors in Canada, with an investment of
$117 million in 2005. The Company is committed to fostering partnerships to
deliver the most valuable health outcomes for Canadian patients. More
information about Merck Frosst is available at http://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 1
of Merck's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2005, and in its periodic
reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K, which the Company incorporates by
reference.

    (TM) Trademark of Merck & Co., Inc., used under license

    -----------------------
    (1) Brisson, M et al. Estimating the number needed to vaccinate to
    prevent HPV related disease and mortality. Presented at the 7th Canadian
    Immunization Conference (CIC) on December 3, 2006 in Winnipeg.
    




For further information:

For further information: Sheila Murphy, Manager, Public Affairs, Merck
Frosst Canada Ltd., (514) 428-2748; Diane Hébert, NATIONAL PharmaCom, (514)
843-2302


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