Merck Serono Commits to Support People Living with Multiple Sclerosis at Work

By Merck Serono S A, PRNE
Tuesday, May 24, 2011

GENEVA, May 25, 2011 -

- Flexible Hours, Working From Home, Adapting Office Environment Will
Form the Cornerstone of Employment Practices

- Merck Serono is First to Respond to MSIF Global Focus on Multiple
Sclerosis at Work

Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany,
announces today, in recognition of World Multiple Sclerosis Day, its ongoing
commitment to support people living with multiple sclerosis (MS). A new
survey among people living with MS reveals the crucial need for support from
employers and physicians to make continued employment a viable option for

The Consider MS Survey, commissioned by Merck Serono in
response to this year's focus by the Multiple Sclerosis International
Federation's (MSIF) on MS and work, reveals that of those surveyed, 80% of
people with MS said they needed more support from their employers than they
are currently getting in order to continue working. The question of work is
also a concern for people with MS and their healthcare professionals (HCPs).
Although 81% of people with MS reported having discussed MS and work-related
matters with their HCP in the past 12 months, half (51%) still felt they
needed more support from their HCP on discussing MS with their employer.

These data suggest there is ample scope for future
collaboration between the patient, his or her physician and employers to find
innovative ways to keep people with MS in the labor force, a particular
concern in a period of restricted budgets and healthcare spending.

"Flexible hours, working from home, adaptive office
environments and a commitment to raise awareness of our progressive policies
throughout our organization will form the cornerstone of our employment
practices," said Dietmar Eidens, Head of Global Human Resources at Merck
Serono. "Today, Merck Serono is proud to make public its commitment to apply
these practices across our offices in Europe and beyond and we look forward
to other companies joining us in our commitment and addressing multiple
sclerosis at work."

"Work is an important part of life for everyone, and for
people living with multiple sclerosis, it can be a lifeline to independence
and fuller participation in the workplace and society," said Pieter van
, an MS patient who was diagnosed 5 years ago. He continues to work
full-time in and around Belgium as a private trainer/consultant for various
companies. "This survey reveals the important role employers and healthcare
professionals could have in making this a possibility for people with
multiple sclerosis. And it is simple to do: I call on all employers to
consider making working hours flexible, ensuring offices are accessible, and
even just making sure parking is easy and close."

World MS Day 2011, an awareness day hosted by the Multiple
Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF), has the theme this year of Work
and MS with a focus on the role that employers can play in enabling people
with MS to stay on the job ( It is an independent,
multi-stakeholder event to which Merck Serono has responded with its
commitment to HR policies supporting people with MS at work. This theme is of
particular importance to people living with MS in Europe as MS often strikes
people of working age and, uncontrolled, can potentially mean a loss of years
of working life. Indeed, up to 47% of people may stop work within three years
of being diagnosed with MS.

About the Consider MS Survey

The Consider MS Survey was commissioned by Merck Serono as
part of its comprehensive response to MSIF's focus on work in 2011. It is not
connected to MSIF, nor is it part of their initiatives around World MS Day.
In the survey, research was conducted across France, Germany, Italy, Spain
and the UK involving both neurologists and people with MS to obtain their
views about multiple sclerosis (MS) and the workplace. The research
identified a need for increased dialogue and support between physicians,
employers and people with MS.

About Merck Serono

Merck Serono is the biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA,
Darmstadt, Germany, a global pharmaceutical and chemical company.
Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, Merck Serono discovers, develops,
manufactures and markets prescription medicines of both chemical and
biological origin in specialist indications. In the United States and Canada,
EMD Serono operates as a separately incorporated affiliate of Merck Serono.

Merck Serono has leading brands serving patients with cancer
(Erbitux(R), cetuximab), multiple sclerosis (Rebif(R), interferon beta-1a),
infertility (Gonal-f(R), follitropin alfa), endocrine and metabolic disorders
(Saizen(R) and Serostim(R), somatropin), (Kuvan(R), sapropterin
dihydrochloride), (Egrifta(TM), tesamorelin), as well as cardiometabolic
diseases (Glucophage(R), metformin), (Concor(R), bisoprolol), (Euthyrox(R),
levothyroxine). Not all products are available in all markets.

With an annual R&D expenditure of over EUR 1bn, Merck Serono
is committed to growing its business in specialist-focused therapeutic areas
including neurodegenerative diseases, oncology, fertility and endocrinology,
as well as new areas potentially arising out of research and development in

About Merck

Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with
total revenues of EUR 9.3 billion in 2010, a history that began in 1668, and
a future shaped by more than 40,000 employees in 67 countries. Its success is
characterized by innovations from entrepreneurial employees. Merck's
operating activities come under the umbrella of Merck KGaA, in which the
Merck family holds an approximately 70% interest and free shareholders own
the remaining approximately 30%. In 1917 the U.S. subsidiary Merck & Co. was
expropriated and has been an independent company ever since.

For more information, please visit

Merck Serono S.A. - Geneva, 9 Chemin des Mines, 1202 Genève, Suisse; Media relations, Tel: +41-22-414-36-00

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