Merck Sharp & Dohme has teamed up with the UK pharmacy chain Numark to launch a patient support programme for type 2 diabetes patients who are prescribed the drug major’s blockbuster Januvia.

The programme will provides Numark’s 3,000 members with “the tools, skills and knowledge required to confidently perform interventions with their patients helping maximise patient outcomes by explaining the benefits of taking prescribed medication regularly as indicated”. The pharmacist adds that advice on diet, exercise and general lifestyle is also provided “as part of the message”.

Samuel Pygall, MSD’s patient and pharmacy services manager from MSD, said that “the pharmacist-patient interaction is one of the most critical [and] maximising its impact is essential to enhancing patient care”. He added that “there is a wealth of support material available that should be made available at the point of medication dispensing”.

Mr Pygall went to say that the Numark link-up is “completely aligned with our current and planned medicines optimisation efforts in partnership with pharmacy and we hope it will form the foundation for more involved services in the future”.

Mimi Lau, Numark’s director of pharmacy services, said pharmacists can play “a pivotal role in helping patients adhere to their prescribed medication through relatively small but significant interventions”.  Initiatives like this can reduce medicines wastage and hospital admissions by effective management of chronic illness “and it is well documented how this can contribute to financial savings for the NHS”.