MSD (http://www.merck.com), one of the world’s healthcare leaders, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, N.J., U.S.A., announced today the opening of its office in Lagos, Nigeria. The office in Nigeria will be managed by Kingsley Okeke, a Nigerian national, and his team of 18 employees. The opening of the office in Lagos underscores MSD’s commitment to expand its geographic footprint in Africa and to work closely with local stakeholders to address health challenges in Nigeria and neighboring West African countries such as Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Equatorial Guinea.
The opening of the office in Nigeria is in line with MSD’s new Africa strategy. At the core of this strategy is the strengthening of MSD’s presence within Africa, through the appointment of local health professionals who not only have an understanding of the environment and a respect for local customs, but also the passion to accelerate the public health agenda as defined by the governments. This includes contributing to creating jobs and transferring technical know-how, as well as the Company’s sustainable commitment to the community in which it operates.
“At MSD, our commitment is to get the right medicines to the right people in the right place, and we will achieve this by focusing on bringing medications and vaccines to Nigeria to address unmet medical needs,” says Kingsley Okeke, Commercial Director, MSD West Africa. “We have an excellent relationship with the Nigerian government and we have set ourselves the ambitious goal to be the number one health care partner in Nigeria in scaling up access to healthcare services and medicines.”
MSD’s product portfolio aligns well with local needs in Nigeria, where disease patterns are beginning to resemble those of the developed world: cardiovascular disease; asthma; diabetes, and infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis; as well as family planning and vaccines.
In recognition of World AIDS Day on December 1, MSD also announced today the launch of its innovative antiretroviral (ARV) medicine ATRIPLA® (efavirenz 600mg/emtricitabine 200 mg/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate 300mg) in Nigeria. Bringing ATRIPLA® to Nigeria is consistent with MSD’s commitment to register this innovative treatment for HIV broadly. ATRIPLA® is recommended in Nigeria Guidelines for the treatment of HIV.1
“Each of the components in ATRIPLA has been shown to be effective and has a well-established tolerability profile in HIV patients,” said Dr. Ernest Ekong, Director/Head, Department of Clinical Services, Institute for Human Virology of Nigeria (IHVN). “This one-pill-a-day treatment for HIV is already globally available and represents a simplification of dosing, which is important as patients remain on therapy longer.”
According to facts published by the HIV/AIDS Division of the Federal Ministry of Health in 2011, Nigeria reported its first case of AIDS in 1986 and since then there has been a strong focus from Government and other stakeholders on managing the burden of disease.2 “There are 3.4 million people in Nigeria living with HIV, 1.49 million requiring ARV therapy (1.3 million adults and 212,720 children), only 29.8% of eligible adults and children are on treatment and there is still a huge resource gap towards providing access to comprehensive HIV related services. We are glad to cooperate with MSD closely in the future to alleviate this burden,” said Dr. Patricia, Agaba, Honorary Consultant Family Physician, Department of Family Medicine, Jos University Teaching Hospital Nigeria.
Source: APO – Press Release – 5 December 2012