Zostavax, the drug found by Merck to treat a type of viral disease called Shingles caused by Varicella Zoster Virus got its FDA approval in the year 2006. Initially the drug was approved for the age group of 60 years and above and was recommended for the people in the age group of 50 – 59 years in the year 2011 following FDA’s approval.
Shingles can be called as the second phase of chickenpox. With an episode of chickenpox, the virus remains in the dormant form in the affected individual and becomes active due to factors like poor immune system, age or some type of medication. In such a case the virus will cause the condition shingles, with symptoms like headache and flu followed by appearance of rashes on the skin which turns into blisters over the period. Merck delivered its product Zostavax to treat Shingles with a nod from FDA.
The prix Galien award is given every year as recognition of the excellence in new medicine development to the pharmaceutical industries by the Prix Galien foundation under various categories. Prix Galien was found in the year 1969 by Roland Mehl in the memory of Galen, the father of innovative medicine and science and pharmacology. Merck’s product Zostavax is awarded the best biotechnology product of the year 2013 by Prix Galien.
Merck is pioneer in products like prescription drugs, vaccines, biological therapies, consumer care and veterinary health. This is not the first time Merck is recognized by Prix Galien. Yes, in the past seven years the company has received the awards five times from Prix Galien and this is the 6th award. The earlier awarded Merck’s products and the year of award are,
JANUVIA, a type II diabetes drug – 2007
GARDASIL, a drug against HPV – 2007
ISENTRESS, an antiretroviral drug – 2008
ROTATEQ , vaccine against rota virus -2010
VICTRELIS, HCV protease inhibitor – 2012 and
Now the 2013 award for the ZOSTAVAX vaccine received by Merck is another feather in the cap. The President of Merck Research laboratories Dr. Roger M Perlmutter, acknowledges the work of all the Merck employees who made this award possible.