Merck, Healthy Interactions expand diabetes education program

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Merck and Healthy Interactions announced an expansion of their US Diabetes Conversation Map Program, a patient education effort.

The program will launch in Spanish under the expansion, and will train 5,000 additional healthcare professionals, from 10,000 pre-existing participants, according to a company statement. Training and distribution are sponsored by Merck, whose diabetes drug, Januvia (sitagliptin), was approved in October 2006.  Janumet (sitagliptin/metformin), a combination pill, was approved in March 2007. Both products are indicated for Type 2 diabetes.

“Merck is firmly committed to improving patient education through our flagship program, Journey for Control, and we recognize the value and impact that this program has for patients with diabetes,” said Kathryn Hayward, US marketing leader, diabetes, at Merck in a statement.

Hispanics and Latinos are at a greater risk for Type 2 diabetes than non-Hispanics, according to US Department of Health and Human Services data included in the statement.

The Conversation Map Program exposes diabetes patients to a “lively, dynamic conversation where small groups of engaged participants are captivated by a thought provoking visual and real-world dialogue between patients and between patients and diabetes educators,” according to the statement.  A spokesperson at Merck was not immediately available for comment.

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