Responding to the AIDS Pandemic


"[The AIDS pandemic] is a catastrophe worse than terrorism. [This is] the biggest problem we have on the face of the earth today"
-- Secretary of State, Colin Powell

Every day 8,000 parents, brothers and sisters die from AIDS. Worldwide, AIDS has left 14 million children orphaned.

In the West antiretroviral drugs have significantly reduced the impact of AIDS. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, these drugs are not yet broadly available in the developing world. The result: every 14 seconds another child loses one or both parents to AIDS.

Merck provides discounted antiretroviral drugs in the developing world, and offers significant support for AIDS prevention and treatment programs in Botswana. Merck is also actively engaged in AIDS vaccine research and development. This good work was marred in 2001 by negative publicity stemming from a legal action the company participated in against the government of South Africa. This action related to public access to generic antiretroviral medicines.

Despite the largely positive role Merck has played so far in responding to the AIDS pandemic, there is more that needs to be done, especially on an industry wide basis.


Shareholders request the Board prepare a report outlining additional steps the pharmaceutical industry can take to help address the AIDS pandemic, including:

This report should be distributed to the boards of other major pharmaceutical companies and requesting shareholders.


"There is no war on the face of the earth right now that is more serious, that is more grave than the war we see here in sub-Saharan Africa against HIV/AIDS. America will help you in every way we can."
-- Secretary of State, Colin Powell

The 14 million children in the world who have lost parents to AIDS are looking up to us for help.

I urge you not to look away.

I urge you to vote FOR this resolution!