Merck concerned for diabetes patients in B.C., in light of B.C. Pharmacare announcement of decision to de-list sitagliptin products (Januvia® and Janumet®)

Merck concerned for diabetes patients in B.C., in light of B.C. Pharmacare announcement of decision to de-list sitagliptin products (Januvia® and Janumet®)

VANCOUVER, Aug. 5, 2014 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) -- On July 30, 2014, Merck was advised by the British Columbia Medical Beneficiary and Pharmaceutical Services Division of the delisting of all sitagliptin products from the British Columbia Pharmacare Benefits Program. Effective August 5, 2014, the British Columbia Medical Beneficiaries and Pharmaceutical Services Division is adjusting its coverage of DPP-4 inhibitor drugs; as such, coverage of sitagliptin products will end for all patients on February 5, 2015. Based on Merck's information, the customary consultation from relevant stakeholders, including health care professionals and patients, has not taken place. Merck strongly disagrees with this approach. Merck wishes to emphasize that the British Columbia Medical Beneficiaries and Pharmaceutical Services Division decision was in no way related to the established safety, tolerability and efficacy of Januvia® and Janumet®, as detailed in their product monographs.

Patient response to different therapies is variable; by limiting therapeutic options, this in turn limits therapeutic benefits and may destabilize patient care. Merck believes that maintaining patient stability and offering treatment options is critical to improved health outcomes and management of total healthcare system costs.

Merck supports a patient-centered approach, where the impact on patients is the primary consideration. The choice of treatment options and individualization of treatment are paramount to patient care. Merck remains committed to working with governments and key stakeholders to help manage overall healthcare costs and sustainability, and improve patient health outcomes, by providing competitive pricing for medications and innovative solutions.

For Additional Information Patients who need more information about managing their diabetes should talk with their health care providers.

Health care providers who want information about JANUVIA® or JANUMET®, should contact the Merck Customer Information Centre at 1-800-567-2594.

About JANUVIA® (sitagliptin) 25 mg, 50 mg and 100 mg tablets JANUVIA(®) is a type of prescription diabetes medicine called a DPP-4 inhibitor (dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor) that enhances the body's own ability to control blood sugar levels.

JANUVIA(®) helps the body increase insulin production when blood sugar is high, especially after eating. It also helps to reduce the amount of sugar made by the liver.

JANUVIA(®) works only when blood sugar levels are high.

Because JANUVIA(®) stops working before blood sugar gets too low, it is not likely to cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). If you take JANUVIA(®) with another medicine that can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), such as a sulfonylurea or insulin, your risk of getting low blood sugar is higher. The dose of sulfonylurea medicine or insulin may need to be lowered while using JANUVIA(®).

Prescribing Information for JANUVIA (sitagliptin tablets) at: Medication Guide for JANUVIA at:

About JANUMET® (sitagliptin and metformin hydrochloride tablets) JANUMET(®) is an oral prescription medicine that, along with diet and exercise, helps lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. JANUMET(®) tablets contain 2 prescription medicines: sitagliptin (JANUVIA(®)) and metformin. Metformin is a member of the biguanide class of medicines. It helps to lower the amount of sugar made by the liver. Together, these medicines can help achieve better blood sugar control.

Prescribing Information for JANUMET (sitagliptin) at: Medication Guide for JANUMET at:

About Type 2 Diabetes in BC, and in Canada Today, there are more 224,775 Type 2 diabetic patients in British Columbia.(1) There are more than nine million Canadians living with diabetes or prediabetes, of which 90 cent have Type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body does not effectively use the insulin that is produced. Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adulthood, although children can be affected.(2,) (3)

Diabetes is a complex chronic condition, which is often associated with cardiovascular disease, renal disease and obesity(4).

Individuals with diabetes are(4):

                --  over three times more likely to be hospitalized with
                    cardiovascular disease than individuals without diabetes;
                --  12 times more likely to be hospitalized with end-stage renal
                    disease; and
                --  almost 20 times more likely to be hospitalized with
                    non-traumatic lower limb amputations.

About Merck Today's Merck is a global healthcare 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 consumer care 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 healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information about our operations in Canada, visit .

Merck Forward-Looking Statement This news release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck's management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Merck 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 Merck's 2013 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 ( ).




(1) Statistics Canada, 2012


(2) Public Health Agency of Canada, Diabetes in Canada: 2011


(3)Canadian Diabetes Association:


(®)registered trademarks of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc.




To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL: