Merck is building a diabetes registry

With diabetes cases estimated to have reached 29 million, making it one of the most common and costly chronic conditions, there is a thirst for more information to add insights into the healthcare industry’s understanding of the disease. To that end, Merck has launched an initiative to collect data from 20,000 Type 2 diabetes patients […]

With diabetes cases estimated to have reached 29 million, making it one of the most common and costly chronic conditions, there is a thirst for more information to add insights into the healthcare industry’s understanding of the disease. To that end, Merck has launched an initiative to collect data from 20,000 Type 2 diabetes patients over a three-year span for a diabetes registry.

The information will be gathered from 900 sites in four countries, including the U.S., Japan, Germany and France.

In response to emailed questions, a Merck spokeswoman said in an email that Merck plans to use a Web-based patient portal to collect data on health and lifestyle behaviors, practices and beliefs from patients. It will also evaluate blood glucose control, healthcare resource utilization, medication adherence and patient satisfaction.
It expects to look at exposures and predictors other than diabetes medications.

Dr. Peter Stein, vice president of diabetes and endocrinology at Merck Research Laboratories, said in a company statement that the research was an important complement to clinical trials as it tries to to identify unmet needs and solutions to improve patient outcomes, access and adherence.

As far as applications beyond sharing insights with physicians, payers and policy makers, the big pharma company left the door open for digital health and drug development applications.

“Although there are currently no plans to assess smartphone-based digital health applications per se, that is something we may look at in the future,” he said. “It is possible that the registry may help future drug development, but that is not the intent or focus of the registry.”

Patients who participate will sign a consent form, which will explain how the data will be used and reported, according to the email response. The data will be aggregated and analyzed anonymously. But information for individual patients will not be made available or reported except where local laws require it.

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