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Merck to support DEXA scanner sales

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Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry firms Lunar and Hologic are gettinga boost from pharmaceutical giant Merck, which signed separatejoint financing agreements with the densitometry competitors topromote sales of their DEXA scanners in the U.S. Merck, of

Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry firms Lunar and Hologic are gettinga boost from pharmaceutical giant Merck, which signed separatejoint financing agreements with the densitometry competitors topromote sales of their DEXA scanners in the U.S.

Merck, of West Point, PA, has developed Fosamax, a drug for thetreatment of osteoporosis that is close to receiving Food andDrug Administration approval. Merck hopes that the diffusion ofDEXA scanners will help fuel Fosamax sales when the drug becomesavailable. Merck estimates that there are 700 DEXA systems inclinical use in the U.S.

Under the agreements announced last week, Merck will assist infinancing the acquisition of DEXA scanners and will provide educationalprograms to increase awareness of bone mineral density testing.In Lunar's case, physicians will be able to acquire the Madison,WI, company's low-cost DPX densitometer on a fee-per-patient basis.Lunar's premium Expert system and its Achilles ultrasound productare not covered by the program.

Hologic will also provide its Acclaim fanbeam scanner on a fee-per-patientbasis, which reduces the initial investment needed to acquirecapital equipment. Physicians can withdraw from the program andreturn the equipment without penalty if there is no demand forDEXA services, Hologic said.

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