HOPE, BD, Merck & Co., Inc. and Sanofi Pasteur honored for their humanitarian relief efforts following a natural disaster

Washington, D.C., September 1, 2009

The Dominican Republic Ambassador to the United States Roberto B. Saladin presented the medallions of the Order of Duarte, Sanchez, Mella, the highest honor bestowed by the President of the Dominican Republic, His Excellency Dr. Leonel Fernandez Reyna, upon foreign individuals, to four executive leaders representing BD, Merck & Co., Inc., Sanofi Pasteur and the international health education and humanitarian assistance organization Project HOPE. The recognition was granted for the organizations’ humanitarian relief efforts to the national emergency caused by tropical storms Noel and Olga in 2007. 

Jeffery S. Sherman, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for BD, Richard T. Clark, Chairman, President and CEO of Merck, Wayne Pisano, President and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur and John P. Howe, III, M.D., President and CEO of Project HOPE, received the medallions on behalf of their organizations during a ceremony at the residence of the Ambassador and Mrs. Bertha Saladin in Washington, D.C.  

“Following the destruction and flooding caused by the storms, Project HOPE contacted health officials in the Dominican Republic knowing that the children and families needed access to vaccines, medicines and medical supplies,” said Dr. Howe. “It was our hope that the much needed vaccines, medicines and supplies would help people recover quickly and begin to live their lives as they did before the storms.” 

Project HOPE coordinated the response to the 2007 storms that left more than 50,000 people homeless and killed more than 100 in the Caribbean nation. BD, Merck and Sanofi Pasteur provided vaccines and syringes valued at more than $27 million – the single largest donation that HOPE had delivered to the Dominican Republic. The supplies were used to vaccinate more than one million Dominicans, mostly children, to protect them from illnesses such as influenza, diphtheria, pneumonia, tetanus and other disease.   

“In the aftermath of a power natural disaster like the storms, the most basic of medicines and medical supplies are of the greatest need,” said Dr. Howe. “With the generous donation of vaccines, medicines and medical supplies from BD, Merck and Sanofi Pasteur, we knew we could help thousands of Dominicans recover and possibly avoid the onset of diseases like the flu and tetanus.” 

Project HOPE has had a presence in the Dominican Republic since 1996 when it collaborated with the Order of Malta to open a maternal and child health clinic in Santo Domingo. It took only one year for the facility to achieve self sustainability after it began operating in 2002. A second clinic was opened in Monte Plata which is also self sustainable. Other HOPE projects in the Dominican Republic include a village health bank—a program that combines micro-lending with health education.  

 “Project HOPE is honored to receive the Medallion of the Order of Duarte, Sanchez, Mella,” said Dr. Howe. “We are even more honored to receive the recognition with our partners BD, Merck and Sanofi Pasteur, whose generous contributions made it possible to provide humanitarian relief to the people of the Dominican Republic during a very chaotic time.” 

About Project HOPE
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now provides medical training and health education, as well as conducts humanitarian assistance programs in more than 35 countries. For more information, please visit 

About Sanofi-aventis
Sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of everyone. Sanofi-aventis is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY). 

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of sanofi-aventis Group, provided more than 1.6 billion doses of vaccine in 2008, making it possible to immunize more than 500 million people across the globe. A world leader in the vaccine industry, Sanofi Pasteur offers the broadest range of vaccines protecting against 20 infectious diseases. The company's heritage, to create vaccines that protect life, dates back more than a century. Sanofi Pasteur is the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines. Every day, the company invests more than EUR 1 million in research and development. For more information, please visit:

About Merck
Merck & Co., Inc. (which operates as Merck Sharp & Dohme outside the United States) is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first.  Established in 1891, Merck currently discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines to address unmet medical needs.  The Company devotes extensive efforts to increase access to medicines through far-reaching programs that not only donate Merck medicines but help deliver them to the people who need them.  Merck also publishes unbiased health information as a not-for-profit service.  For more information, visit

About BD
BD is a leading global medical technology company that develops, manufactures and sells medical devices, instrument systems and reagents.  The Company is dedicated to improving people's health throughout the world.  BD is focused on improving drug delivery, enhancing the quality and speed of diagnosing infectious diseases and cancers, and advancing research, discovery and production of new drugs and vaccines.  BD's capabilities are instrumental in combating many of the world's most pressing diseases.  Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, BD employs approximately 28,000 people in approximately 50 countries throughout the world.  The Company serves healthcare institutions, life science researchers, clinical laboratories, the pharmaceutical industry and the general public.  For more information, please visit

Photographs of the event will be available after 9 pm ET via Project HOPE’s Flickr Account

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