Merck Launches Partnership With Department of Health and Philippine Thyroid Association

DARMSTADT, Germany and MANILA, Philippines, September 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

- Merck Philippines joins forces with Health Department and Thyroid Association to
put spotlight on health and wellbeing of Filipino women  

Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical business of Merck, today announced the launch of a partnership with the Department of Health, Philippines, and the Philippine Thyroid Association (PTA). The partnership focuses on the implementation of jointly agreed activities to advance the diagnosis and treatment of the Filipino population suffering from thyroid disorders. Specifically, the partnership aims to increase population awareness of thyroid disorders and to improve the capacity of health care professionals to diagnose and manage thyroid disorders.

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"We believe that partnering with governments and patient associations is fundamental to increase awareness around disease symptoms and treatment options," said Belen Garijo, Member of the Executive Board and CEO Healthcare of Merck. "We are very pleased to join forces with the Department of Health and the Philippine Thyroid Association to advance the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disorders across the Philippines and at the same occasion put a spotlight on women's health and well-being as thyroid disorders are one of the most prevalent yet untreated health disorders among women in the country."

The launch of the partnership takes place in the context of the Philippines hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings this year. One specific topic - Healthy Women, Healthy Economies - is being championed by the Philippines to bring to light that increasing women's economic participation is important for sustainable economic development. Ensuring the health of women is key to economic empowerment.

"We are proud to be a key partner in the APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies initiative and worked with the Philippines Department of Health to help develop a policy toolkit which includes access to thyroid treatment," added Belen Garijo. "The toolkit provides evidence and good practices on how to improve women's health for greater economic participation and ultimately higher economic growth."

Paulyn Ubial for the Department of Health, Ruben V. Ogbac, President of the PTA, and Belen Garijo, Member of the Executive Board and CEO Healthcare of Merck, and Ramonito Tampos, President and Managing Director Merck Inc. Philippines, were participating in the partnership launch during which stories of women were presented who were suffering from thyroid disorders and have been already successfully treated.

The thyroid gland is located in the neck in front of the windpipe and secretes hormones necessary for the body's growth and development. Iodine Deficiency is the main cause of thyroid disorders such as endemic goiter and hypothyroidism. An estimated 9 million Filipinos suffer from goiter.[1] If left untreated hypothyroidism is associated with a wide range of mild to severe health conditions including among others heart disease, infertility, osteoporosis, depression, poor memory and concentration. In children, hypothyroidism cause delays in growth and development, as well as intellectual impairment. [2] In pregnancy, hypothyroidism can increase the risk of pre-eclampsia and may lead to miscarriage, anemia as well as to low birth weight and neurocognitive defects of newborn babies.[3] Hypothyroidism is eight to ten times more common in women than men and there are certain times in a woman's life when she is most vulnerable to thyroid problems, such as during pregnancy and menopause.


1) Estimate based on Raboca et al. The Philippine Thyroid Diseases Study (PhilTiDeS 1)
: Prevalence of Thyroid Disorders Among Adults in the Philippines. JAFES. and Philippine Statistics Authority,
2010 Census-based Population Projections in collaboration with the Inter-Agency
Working Group on Population Projections
2) Counts, D; Varma, SK (Jul 2009). "Hypothyroidism in children". Pediatrics in Review 30
(7): 251-8. doi:10.1542/pir.30-7-251. PMID 19570923
3) Vissenberg, R; van den Boogaard, E; van Wely, M et al. (July 2012). "Treatment of
thyroid disorders before conception and in early pregnancy: a systematic review".
Human Reproduction Update (Review) 18 (4): 360-73. doi:10.1093/humupd/dms007
[ ].

About Merck Serono 

Merck Serono is the biopharmaceutical business of Merck. With headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, Merck Serono offers leading brands in 150 countries to help patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, infertility, endocrine and metabolic disorders as well as cardiovascular diseases. In the United States and Canada, EMD Serono operates as a separately incorporated subsidiary of Merck Serono.

Merck Serono discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription medicines of both chemical and biological origin in specialist indications. We have an enduring commitment to deliver novel therapies in our core focus areas of neurology, oncology, immuno-oncology and immunology.

For more information, please visit

All Merck news releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck website. Please go to to register online, change your selection or discontinue this service.

Merck is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in healthcare, life science and performance materials. The company has six businesses - Merck Serono, Consumer Health, Allergopharma, Biosimilars, Merck Millipore and Performance Materials - and generated sales of EUR 11.3 billion in 2014. Around 39,000 employees work for Merck in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to foster the success of customers, and to help meet global challenges. Merck is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company - since 1668, the company has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. Holding an approximately 70% interest, the founding family remains the majority owner of the company to this day. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States, where the company operates as EMD Serono, EMD Millipore and EMD Performance Materials.


Merck Serono

CONTACT: Bettina Frank, Phone +49-(0)6151-72-4660

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