GENEVA, February 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
- Company Strives to Change the way Pharmaceutical Companies Interact With the Communities They Serve
Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, today announced the launch of UniteMS.net, a groundbreaking international social network designed specifically for people living with and affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) around the world. UniteMS is intended to offer a digital venue for the MS community to empower themselves through best in class information, gain inspiration from worldwide stories of hope, and explore a trusted environment with the most and easiest avenues to communicate with peers.
UniteMS features information from reliable sources about living with MS, MS symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment, along with feature articles from leaders in the MS community and expert commentary from healthcare professionals. Users of UniteMS will be able to create their own profile, network with other people living with the disease, and engage in online conversations with an international MS community. UniteMS allows participants to rate and offer feedback on content, ask questions to experts, contribute blog posts and most importantly, share their experiences about living with MS.
UniteMS is a unique international social network that makes all of these features and services available to the entire MS community, without excluding anyone based on treatment choice. Merck Serono understands that in today's environment, a pharmaceutical company should go even beyond offering therapies to treat or cure diseases. Acknowledging the importance of social networking in a person's journey with MS, Merck Serono is committed to providing a venue for these conversations and interactions.
"Merck Serono is dedicated to constantly and effectively contributing to the well-being of the communities we serve," said Dr. Roberto Gradnik, Executive Vice President for Neurodegenerative Diseases at Merck Serono. "As the MS community continues to look to social networks to stay informed and connected, we see it as our responsibility to provide a vehicle that helps them do so more efficiently than ever."
UniteMS follows a code of conduct based on respect, honesty, trust, integrity and responsibility, all of which has been established through the UniteMS Manifesto, a declaration of the company's principles and intentions as it enters the social network world. The manifesto constitutes a living document that is intended to evolve with the development of new media technologies and the enactment of new laws and regulations.
While the international version of UniteMS is now available, a growing number of local community sites will become available for individual countries, spearheaded by The Netherlands and Greece launching in Q2. UniteMS is not intended for use by residents of the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland.
Both the global and local websites for UniteMS will allow those living with and affected by the disease to reflect and share their honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences, as well as access thought leaders and experts in the field of MS.
"UniteMS is a truly revolutionary platform that offers opportunities for learning and interaction never before seen among the MS community," said Mary Baker, President, European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA). "Behind every MS diagnosis is a human story that others may be able to learn from or take comfort in. We applaud Merck Serono for taking such a groundbreaking step to allow these stories to be heard."
About multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory condition of the central nervous system and is the most common, non-traumatic, disabling neurological disease in young adults. It is estimated that approximately two million people have MS worldwide. While symptoms can vary, the most common symptoms of MS include blurred vision, numbness or tingling in the limbs and problems with strength and coordination. The relapsing forms of MS are the most common.
About Merck Serono
Merck Serono is the division for innovative prescription pharmaceuticals of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a global pharmaceutical and chemical company. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, Merck Serono discovers, develops, manufactures and markets innovative small molecules and biopharmaceuticals to help patients with unmet medical needs. 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) 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 more than EUR 1 billion, 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 autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with total revenues of EUR 7.7 billion in 2009, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped by approximately 40,000 employees in 64 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 http://www.merckserono.com or http://www.merck.de
SOURCE Merck Serono S A