Supplier News Breaks Archives
Merck teams with Gregg Allman on hepatitis C campaign
June 22nd, 2011
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. – Merck is working with rock musician Gregg Allman and the American Liver Foundation on Tune In to Hep C, a public health campaign to help raise awareness of chronic hepatitis C virus infection.
The pharmaceutical company said Tuesday that the effort will culminate in a benefit concert featuring The Allman Brothers Band at New York City's Beacon Theatre on July 27, the eve of World Hepatitis Day. Proceeds from the concert, dubbed Tune In to Hep C Presents The Allman Brothers Band, will be donated to community-based organizations that provide education and support services to people with chronic hepatitis C.
"When a person like Gregg Allman comes forward to speak about his personal experience, it is extremely powerful, and we are grateful to him for his commitment to helping motivate other people with chronic hepatitis C to take action," commented Mark Timney, president of global human health for the U.S. market at Merck.
This week marks the one-year anniversary of Allman's liver transplant, which he received after his liver had become damaged from chronic hepatitis C infection, according to Merck. Allman has returned to performing and recording music and now wants to help raise awareness of hepatitis, the company said.
The Beacon Theatre has special meaning for Allman, who has played there every year since 1991 with the exception of 2007 — when the band had to cancel their performance because Allman was too ill from his chronic hepatitis C to play.
"I'm excited to be working with Merck and the American Liver Foundation because there are many people who have been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C but aren't taking action. I want to tell them, don't wait. Doing nothing is not an option; they need to talk with their doctor," stated Allman, a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band. "I made the decision to take action and talk to my doctor so that I could get back to making the music I love. I want others to take that action, too, and if I can help make that happen, I've done my job."
Nearly 3.2 million Americans have chronic hepatitis C virus infection, a potentially serious disease that can damage the liver over time and lead to cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease and liver cancer, Merck reported. Many people infected with chronic hepatitis C don't know that they have the virus, and about 60% to 80% of people infected with chronic hepatitis C virus don't have symptoms.
"We are thrilled to work with Merck and Gregg Allman to help educate and empower patients with chronic hepatitis C. This has been a focus of the American Liver Foundation for 35 years," commented Newton Guerin, acting chief executive officer and chief operating officer for the American Liver Foundation. "People don't often talk openly about their hepatitis C, which contributes to misinformation and isolation for those infected with the virus. Gregg's willingness to share his story will open the door for meaningful dialogue that can help reduce stigma and the lack of understanding surrounding chronic hepatitis C."