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Recent Survey Finds Many Adults with Diabetes Unaware of Their Increased Risk for Certain Serious Illnesses

KENILWORTH, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Many adults with diabetes are unaware of their increased risk for certain serious illnesses, including pneumococcal pneumonia/pneumococcal disease, flu and hepatitis B. This is according to a recent national, online consumer awareness survey sponsored by Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and the American Diabetes Association, and conducted by Harris Poll.

In the survey of 1,003 U.S. adults ages 18 years and older diagnosed with diabetes, respondents were twice as likely to recognize the potential for adults with diabetes to develop kidney disease (72%) and heart disease (67%), than serious infectious diseases such as pneumococcal disease, including pneumonia, meningitis, or an infection of the blood (36%), compared to adults without diabetes.

While published data1 show that adults with diabetes are approximately three times more likely to develop pneumococcal disease compared to healthy adults of the same age, only about 1 in 3 survey respondents (35%) believed they were at least somewhat personally likely to get pneumococcal pneumonia/pneumococcal disease. In addition, less than half of those surveyed (43%) responded that they had discussed the risk factors for pneumococcal pneumonia/pneumococcal disease with their doctor.

“These data illustrate that patients with diabetes are not fully aware of their risk of other serious illnesses, and that there is a critical communication gap between patients and their health care providers about the risks for serious illness, including pneumococcal pneumonia or pneumococcal disease, flu and hepatitis B for adults with diabetes. Because people with diabetes have increased risks for these diseases and more complicated medical courses when they contract them, health care providers should seek to initiate discussions with patients to bridge the information gap, as recommended in our Standards of Care,” said American Diabetes Association Immediate Past Chief Scientific & Medical Officer Robert E. Ratner, M.D.

In the 2016 Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes, the American Diabetes Association states: “Ongoing patient self-management education and support are critical to preventing acute complications, and reducing the risk of long-term complications.” The Standards of Care also recognize and emphasize the importance of patient-centered engagement and communication to the foundation of diabetes care. Indeed, thirty-five percent of the survey respondents strongly/somewhat agreed with the statement: “I wish I knew more about pneumococcal pneumonia or pneumococcal disease,” and eighty-five percent believed that pneumococcal pneumonia/pneumococcal disease is a very/somewhat serious health condition for adults with diabetes.

“This lack of awareness is significant—based on the survey, we know that adults with diabetes wish they knew more about certain diseases for which they are at risk, including pneumococcal pneumonia or pneumococcal disease,” said Mel Kohn, M.D., MPH, medical director, Merck.

In March of 2015, Merck and the American Diabetes Association announced a collaboration aiming to educate adults with diabetes about their increased risk for certain serious illnesses, including pneumococcal pneumonia, flu and hepatitis B, encouraging people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes to talk with their HCP about these diseases. As part of the collaboration, an educational resource is available on the Association’s Diabetes Forecast website to help guide adults with diabetes to have informed conversations with their health care team: www.DiabetesForecast.org/knowyourrisk.

Nearly 30 million people in the United States are living with diabetes, and 90-95 percent have type 2 diabetes. About 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year. 2,3

About Pneumococcal Disease

Pneumococcus refers to the bacterium that is the most common cause of lung infection known as pneumococcal pneumonia. The bacteria can infect the upper respiratory tract, and can spread to the lungs, blood or brain. Symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia can include sudden onset of illness characterized by shaking chills, fever, shortness of breath or rapid breathing, chest pain that is worsened by breathing deeply and a productive cough.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Merck and the ADA from April 12-26, 2016 among 1,003 U.S. adults age 18 and older who have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes; not employed by a federal, state, county, or local government agency/facility; do not personally work/have a household member who works in a competing industry; and are not currently involved in a medical clinical trial. Data were not weighted and are only representative of those who completed the survey.

About Merck

For over a century, Merck has been a global health care leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

About the American Diabetes Association

More than 29 million Americans have diabetes, and every 23 seconds another person is diagnosed with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association (Association) is the global authority on diabetes and since 1940 has been committed to its mission to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. To tackle this global public health crisis, the Association drives discovery in research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, as well as to search for cures; raises voice to the urgency of the diabetes epidemic; and provides support and advocacy for people living with diabetes, those at risk of developing diabetes and the health care professionals who serve them. For more information, please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETESS (1-800-342-2383) or visit diabetes.org. Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn)

Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA

This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the “company”) includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. There can be no guarantees with respect to pipeline products that the products will receive the necessary regulatory approvals or that they will prove to be commercially successful. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the company’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in the company’s 2015 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (www.sec.gov).

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1 Shea et al. 2014, “Rates of Pneumococcal Disease in Adults with Chronic Medical Conditions”
2 ADA 2016, “Statistics About Diabetes”
3 ADA 2016, “About Type 2 Diabetes”

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