Weight Watchers and Merck Collaborate to Help Physicians Fight Obesity Through Lifestyle Management Approach


October 13, 2010 7:08 am ET

Weight Watchers International, Inc., the world’s leading provider of
weight management services, and Merck, a global healthcare leader,
announced today an innovative collaboration focused on fighting obesity.
The two companies will launch an initiative in which Merck will provide
physicians and other health care 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.

“Recently published research at the 2010 International Congress on
Obesity demonstrated that the combination of the proven Weight Watchers
behavior modification approach with physician’s encouragement provides a
significant increase in patient adherence to weight-loss solutions and
greater weight loss success than just standard physician care alone.
Weight loss is an important component of preventing and addressing many
health conditions, including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases such
as hypertension. Because our weight management approach helps educate
people on how to live a healthy lifestyle while allowing flexibility,
the Weight Watchers program delivers real weight loss results.
Collaborating with Merck will enable us to arm physicians with a
comprehensive, sustainable, scalable and non-pharmaceutical solution for
weight loss designed to help improve the overall health of their
patients,” said David Kirchhoff, CEO of Weight Watchers International.

Beginning in January 2011, physicians and other health care providers in
the North Central United States, where the initiative will be piloted,
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, senior vice president, Global Human
Health, Strategy and Business Development, for Merck. “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.”

“Losing weight is a tremendous challenge for patients, yet it is so
important for both preventing and controlling chronic conditions like
diabetes and heart disease. Mere advice from a doctor to lose weight
without intensive assistance and resources is not effective. As a result
many doctors feel powerless to help their patients because they have
little to concretely offer,” said Alex Krist, MD, MPH, faculty member
for the Virginia Commonwealth University Family Medicine Residency
program at Fairfax Family Medicine Center. “We need to search for new
ways that healthcare providers, as well as weight management resources,
such as Weight Watchers, can effectively work together and help

With a track record of success that spans nearly 50 years, Weight
Watchers is one of the most clinically-studied commercial weight loss
programs, with more than 61 published trials and counting. It is among
the most recognized and trusted commercial weight loss programs.

About Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Weight Watchers International, Inc. is the world’s leading provider of
weight management services, operating globally through a network of
Company-owned and franchise operations. Weight Watchers holds almost
50,000 meetings each week where members receive group support and learn
about healthy eating patterns, behavior modification and physical
activity. WeightWatchers.com provides innovative, subscription weight
management products over the Internet and is the leading Internet-based
weight management provider in the world. In addition, Weight Watchers
offers a wide range of products, publications and programs for those
interested in weight loss and weight control. For more information,
visit www.weightwatchers.com.

About Merck

Today’s Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be
well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada.
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 that
donate and deliver our products to the people who need them. For more
information, visit www.merck.com.

Forward Looking Statements by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning
of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These
forward-looking statements are based on management’s current
expectations and beliefs, as well as a number of assumptions concerning
future events. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks,
uncertainties and assumptions, including, among other things:
competition from other weight management industry participants or the
development of more effective or more favorably perceived weight
management methods; Weight Watchers’ ability to continue to develop
innovative new services and products and enhance its existing services
and products, or the failure of its services and products to continue to
appeal to the market; the effectiveness of Weight Watchers’ marketing
and advertising programs; the impact on the Weight Watchers brand of
actions taken by its franchisees and licensees; Weight Watchers’ ability
to successfully make acquisitions or enter into joint ventures,
including its ability to successfully integrate, operate or realize the
projected benefits of such businesses; uncertainties related to a
downturn in general economic conditions or consumer confidence; the
impact of events that discourage people from gathering with others;
Weight Watchers’ ability to enforce its intellectual property rights
both domestically and internationally, as well as the impact of its
involvement in any claims related to intellectual property rights; the
impact of disputes with Weight Watchers’ franchise operators; the impact
of existing and future laws and regulations; and other risks and
uncertainties, including those detailed from time to time in Weight
Watchers’ periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange
Commission. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on such
forward-looking statements because actual results may vary materially
from those expressed or implied. Weight Watchers assumes no obligation
to, and expressly disclaims any obligation to, update or revise any
forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information,
future events or otherwise. Readers are advised to review Weight
Watchers’ filings with the United States Securities and Exchange
Commission (which are available from the SEC’s EDGAR database at www.sec.gov,
at various SEC reference facilities in the United States and via Weight
Watchers’ website at www.weightwatchersinternational.com).

Forward Looking Statements by Merck

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 U.S. 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 (www.sec.gov).

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