Merck Serono Supports for the Third Year the International Thyroid Awareness Week

By Merck Serono S A, PRNE
Sunday, May 22, 2011

GENEVA, May 23, 2011 -

Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany,
today announces its support to an information campaign focusing on thyroid
disorders, especially goiters and nodules in the context of the third
International Thyroid Awareness Week 2011. From May 23 to May 29, 2011, the
company and its affiliates worldwide will organize educational activities and
public information sessions.

The International Thyroid Awareness Week is a campaign
supported by Merck Serono in cooperation with Thyroid Federation
International, and endorsed by the European Thyroid Association, the Latin
American Thyroid Society, the American Thyroid Association and the Chinese
Society of Endocrinology. In 2010, the second International Thyroid Awareness
campaign was successfully rolled out in over 40 countries, in collaboration
with local patient organizations and members of the medical community.

There are many diseases and disorders associated with the
thyroid. They can develop at any age and can result from a variety of
causes-injury, disease, or dietary deficiency, for instance. But in most
cases, they can be traced to the following problems: abnormal thyroid growth,
thyroid cancer, goiters and nodules within the thyroid which could lead to
hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (over-active

Although its roles are highly significant to all metabolic
processes in the body, the thyroid goes about its work unnoticed, as long as
it does not pose any problems. From the components derived from blood,
primarily iodine, the thyroid forms two hormones that control human overall
metabolism. People's well-being is dramatically affected when the thyroid's
sensitive metabolism is thrown off-balance.

In general, an enlarged thyroid, or "goiter" can occur in
anyone. A simple or endemic goiter is associated with iodine deficiency due
to insufficient iodine intake. Shortage of iodine in the diet, estimated in
one billion people worldwide by the United Nations World Food Program1, is
also the number one cause of thyroid nodules that are quite common and
usually benign. A "toxic" goiter may occur as a side effect of
hyperthyroidism, when the thyroid is over-stimulated.

"Goiters and nodules can greatly affect patients' well-being.
Because they can go unnoticed or be misinterpreted as symptoms of another
disease, undiagnosed patients may follow inappropriate care or experience
major discomforts for years", said Dr. Bernhard Kirschbaum, Executive Vice
President, Global Research and Development at Merck Serono. "Merck Serono is
pleased to contribute for the third year to this global information

Further information on goiters and nodules is available on:

United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition (SCN) 5th Report on
the World Nutrition Situation, Nutrition for improved Development Outcomes -
March 2004. URL
(Accessed October 2010)

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 is a division of Merck.

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

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