Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced the launch of a new business focused on providing comprehensive, evidence-based weight management interventions for employers, hospitals, medical groups, health plans and patients. This business is based on providing weight management interventions that combine a structured diet, behavior coaching and monitoring and physical activity to achieve clinically meaningful weight loss that can help reduce the risks of chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. To bring these interventions to the market more effectively, a new company has been created called HMR Weight Management Services Corporation, which brings together the capabilities of Merck and assets from Health Management Resources Corporation (HMR), a leader in medical weight management. HMR Weight Management Services Corporation will operate as a subsidiary of Merck. The Health Management Resources Corporation will continue to operate as an independent company and will provide key support to HMR Weight Management Services Corporation. “We’re excited to provide scalable weight management interventions based on approaches that have shown consistent results in clinical trials, and that have been effective in the battle against obesity,” said Len Tacconi, president of HMR Weight Management Services Corporation. The business welcomes all customers to its programs and services regardless of their use of any medicines or programs offered by Merck or any other company. “HMR programs provide an important option for physicians and their patients who need to lose weight as part of their treatment regimen for managing a chronic disease, and we’re pleased to be working with Merck to expand these programs,” said Dr. Lawrence Stifler, Founder of HMR. HMR programs have been studied in clinical trials and have demonstrated effectiveness. Results have been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at medical meetings. The business provides its programs through two main channels – a network of licensed clinics in major medical and academic centers, and through a remote delivery program called Healthy Solutions ® at Home. In a clinical study supporting the Healthy Solutions at Home program, the median weight loss for participants completing the program was 23 lbs. at 12 weeks during the induction active weight loss phase and 28 lbs. at 26 weeks while following the maintenance phase. For those who completed 26 weeks of the program, 60 percent achieved 10 percent or greater weight loss, which is recognized by the medical community as clinically meaningful weight loss. In an equivalency study comparing the effectiveness of remote and clinic-based programs, there was no significant difference between the groups after the 12-month weight maintenance phase following the initial 6-month weight-loss phase. On average, both groups were able to maintain approximately 60 percent of weight loss over one year. For more information about HMR Weight Management Services Corporation, please visit www.healthysolutionsathome.com. Obesity in the U.S. Obesity is a major epidemic in the United States and worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than two-thirds of the adult population in the U.S. is either overweight or obese. The health consequences of this rise in obesity include significant increases in diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as a host of other medical conditions. The health impact of this epidemic also is having enormous economic consequences – both direct medical costs as well as the indirect costs of lower productivity and absenteeism associated with obesity are substantial. In addition, direct medical costs appear to have been dramatically increasing.