Gordon Irlam
326 A St
Redwood City, CA 94063
Email: noreply@base.com
Phone / Fax: +1 (650) 364-6169

Debra A. Bollwage
Assistant Corporate Secretary
One Merck Drive
P.O. Box 100, WS3AB-05
Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889

January 12, 2003

Re: Shareholder Proposal

Dear Ms. Bollwage,

I hereby agree to withdraw the Responding to the AIDS Pandemic shareholder proposal I filed with Merck dated November 14, 2002.

I want to thank you for allowing me to discuss my concerns with Linda Distlerath and others within the company. From a corporate philanthropy perspective, I feel many of the the actions our company has taken are quite commendable. I appreciate having been given the opportunity for my voice to be heard within the company on these issues. Consequently I do not now feel the same need to raise these issues with shareholders.

The AIDS pandemic is of such magnitude that ultimately it needs to be addressed politically, rather than through corporate philanthropy. Unfortunately, in some cases, such as implementation of the Doha declaration, the pharmaceutical industry appears to be playing a role that might be undermining the search for a political solution to these issues.

I will continue to monitor Merck's role in helping find a political solution to the AIDS pandemic, and depending upon the company's actions may seek to raise these issues at a subsequent shareholder meeting. I would appreciate it if I might be able to be kept informed of Merck's activities in this space.


Gordon Irlam

Cc via email: Linda Distlerath (VP Global Health Policy, Merck)