Global Survey Results Reveal Need for Improved Hypoglycaemia Management for People with Type 2 Diabetes

One-Third of Patients Surveyed Have not Regularly Discussed Hypoglycaemia with Their Physician

LISBON, Portugal--()--New multinational survey data released to coincide with the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) 47th Annual Meeting has revealed a lack of communication between type 2 diabetes patients and physicians around hypoglycaemia. The survey, commissioned by MSD, assessed physicians and patients from 11 countries across Europe, Asia and Latin America. Almost one-third of patients surveyed (32%) said they do not regularly discuss hypoglycaemia with their physician, due in part to patients’ limited understanding about hypoglycaemia and lack of time, highlighting a need for improving patient and physician communication.1,2

Results showed a lack of understanding of the symptoms and possible causes of hypoglycaemia in 1,354 type 2 diabetes patients across all surveyed regions. 72% of patients in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East and 53% of patients in the European countries surveyed did not select medication as a cause of hypoglycaemia. 21% of those who do not regularly discuss hypoglycaemia with their physician thought there was nothing their physician could do to help them manage the condition.1,2 In addition, more than half (58%) of the physicians surveyed (675 total) believe that patients do not always tell them about all of their hypoglycaemia episodes. Results varied by region; 81% of physicians in six European countries surveyed believed patients underreported hypoglycaemia episodes, versus 45% in other regions. 1,2

“Hypoglycaemia is a real problem for diabetes patients. These data highlight that it is essential for patients to understand and recognize signs and symptoms of hypoglycaemia and discuss hypoglycaemia management with their physicians,” said Barry J. Goldstein, M.D., Ph.D., vice president and therapeutic area head, diabetes and endocrinology, Merck Research Laboratories, MSD's parent company.

The survey results highlight the need for better education for type 2 diabetes patients and improved patient and physician conversations regarding hypoglycaemia. In Asia, Latin America and the Middle East almost three quarters of patients (74%) surveyed said that it would be extremely useful or very useful to discuss hypoglycaemia more frequently with their physician.1 In addition, the majority of physicians (94%) stated it would be extremely useful or very useful to have more information and resources to help their type 2 diabetes patients identify and manage hypoglycaemia.1

About Hypoglycaemia

Hypoglycaemia, or low blood sugar, occurs when the level of glucose in the blood drops too low for the body’s needs.3 It can occur in patients with type 2 diabetes and is associated with certain type 2 diabetes medications. 4 Symptoms of hypoglycaemia include sweating, hunger, anxiety, palpitations, tremors and behavioural changes.5 Hypoglycaemia can reduce a person’s adherence to diabetes medication, with patients reporting that they are uncertain about how to follow their medication instructions and treatment plans.6

Survey Design

The 'Exploring Hypoglycaemia Survey', conducted by Kantar Health for MSD, examined the views of physicians and people with type 2 diabetes globally to better understand knowledge, behaviour and communication surrounding hypoglycaemia. A total of 2,029 interviews were conducted among 675 physicians, including diabetologists / diabetes specialists, general practitioners, specialists in internal medicine, endocrinologists or cardiologists and separately, 1,354 people who had been diagnosed with and treated for type 2 diabetes across France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, Brazil, Mexico, China, India, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

About MSD

Today's MSD is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. MSD is a tradename of Merck & Co., Inc., with headquarters in Whitehouse Station, N.J., U.S.A. 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, visit

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. Such statements may include, but are not limited to, statements about the benefits of the merger between Merck and Schering-Plough, including future financial and operating results, the combined company’s plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other statements that are not historical facts. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements: the possibility that the expected synergies from the merger of Merck and Schering-Plough will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation; the risk that the businesses will not be integrated successfully; disruption from the merger making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; Merck’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck’s patents and other protections for innovative products; the risk of new and changing regulation and health policies in the United States and internationally and the exposure to litigation and/or regulatory actions.

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 2009 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. 2011 Exploring Hypoglycemia Survey. MSD. Data on file

2. 2010 Exploring Hypoglycemia Survey. MSD. Data on file

3. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC). Hypoglycemia [accessed 21 July 2011]

4. Journal for Control Advancing Diabetes Education. Blood Sugar Highs and Lows [accessed 21 July 2011]

5. Cryer PE, Childs BP. Negotiating the barrier of hypoglycemia in diabetes. Diabetes Spectr. 2002;15(1):20–27

6. Álvarez Guisasola FA et al. Diab Obes Metab. 2008;10 (suppl 1):25–32.


Media Contacts:
Kim Hamilton, +1-908-391-0131
Kim Brenner, +1-908-328-9721


Media Contacts:
Kim Hamilton, +1-908-391-0131
Kim Brenner, +1-908-328-9721