Merck, a leading science and technology company, inaugurated today its scientific office in the United Arab Emirates, in the presence of His Excellency Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Policy and Licensing Sector in the Ministry of Health and Prevention, and Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, chairman of the Executive Board and the Family Board of E. Merck KG. The company’s regional hub is located in Central Park Towers, DIFC, and covers the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey region.
Coinciding with the company’s 350th anniversary in the science and technology field, where it started with a pharmacy in Darmstadt in the year 1668, the inauguration was celebrated in the presence of representatives from the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention and Merck employees.
H.E. Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri said on this occasion, "The United Arab Emirates continues to attract leading global pharmaceutical companies to run their operations for the region as a result of the country's strong business infrastructure. Merck was the first global company to start the manufacturing of innovative drugs in the UAE and we are pleased with Merck’s continuous commitment towards investing in the UAE and the wider region to cover countries that go beyond the Middle East region. The UAE places a high priority on the continuous advancement of its standards of care. As we march towards a healthier nation, our community’s health and happiness remain at the forefront of all our efforts as stated in the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai to achieve the best rankings globally in various fields. It is of utmost importance for us to make sure our people have access to the newest treatments which can greatly improve their quality of life."
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Al Amiri to our offices, as we take this opportunity to reiterate our growing commitment to the country and the wider region. We consider the UAE as a prime market for us given its robust infrastructure and healthcare system. Patients are at the heart of our endeavors and we look forward to working closely with the UAE leadership in the ministry of health and prevention to make sure the community has access to the latest treatments”, said Paolo Carli-Head of Middle East, Africa & Turkey.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention also announced the approval of Merck’s breakthrough medicine - the first oral short-course treatment to help patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. MAVENCLAD® is a medicine used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) in adults. The new treatment is characterized by 20 days of treatment over two years with a sustained efficacy of up to four years. In this context, Dr. Amin El Amiri highlighted the wise leadership’s commitment to support excellence in the healthcare sector in general which made the Ministry of Health and Prevention pay great attention to Multiple Sclerosis in particular and to patients living with this disease.
The UAE is the first country in the region (Middle East & Africa) and the fifth globally to approve the registration of this new therapy, which is a direct outcome of the successful implementation of the Ministerial Decree (28) of year 2018 concerning the registration of breakthrough medicines and orphan drugs by the Ministry of Health and Prevention that aims at making the latest advances and best quality of healthcare services and medications available within the country.
“It is Merck’s continuous ambition to develop breakthrough therapies for patients with significant unmet medical need. Together with its partners, Merck relentlessly works to ensure that people can access the medicines they need”, added Paolo Carli
Multiple Sclerosis is one of the most common neurological disorders in the world. It affects over 2.3 million people worldwide usually between the ages of 20 and 40, which translates to an average of 30 per 100,000 people, according to the World Health Organization. There are different types of MS, the most common being Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, in which patient’s experience flare-ups or relapses in between periods of recovery.
Due to the drug’s novel mechanism of action, MAVENCLAD® (Cladribine tablets) selectively reconstitutes the immune system with minimal impact on the innate immune system functions, making it the only oral short-course therapy to provide up to 4 years of disease control with a maximum of 20 days of treatment over the first 2 years.
“We are thrilled that the Ministry of Health and Prevention has reached this decision which has enabled rapid patient access to this new medication in the UAE,” said Yasser Tawfik-General Manager of the GCC region at Merck. “Patients will need to take the medication for only 20 days over 2 years, which is basically 10 treatment days each year, which eases the treatment phase burden. Since the medication is an innovatively simple pill and because the drug has the lowest monitoring burden amongst high efficacy treatments, patients don’t need to go to the hospital to take their dose, or frequently visit laboratories for monitoring, which also significantly reduces costs for patients, hospitals, and insurance companies. This breakthrough treatment is the closest solution to life without MS”, he added.