Weight Watchers, Merck develop lifestyle management approach to fight obesity

NEW YORK A weight management services provider and a drug maker are teaming up to fight obesity.

Weight Watchers and Merck will launch an initiative in which Merck will provide physicians and other healthcare providers with educational information about the Weight Watchers program and its underlying clinical evidence to assist doctors in addressing the ongoing weight-management needs of their patients, the companies said Wednesday. The initiative will be piloted in January, in which participating physicians and healthcare providers will receive educational materials to help them initiate more effective and efficient conversations about weight loss with their patients, increase awareness of obesity-related health risks and demonstrate how the Weight Watchers program may align with their goals to help patients attain and maintain a healthy weight.

"Our commitment to improving global health care goes beyond medicines and vaccines," said Jay Galeota, Merck's SVP global human health, strategy and business development. "We hope this collaboration with Weight Watchers will enable us to provide physicians with a comprehensive solution they can offer their patients to help better manage weight."