Friday, January 25, 2008

Merck and Schering-Plough Defend Vytorin and Zetia

Article in the Wall Street Journal -- Merck, Schering-Plough Defend Efforts for Vytorin, Zetia, by the Associated Press.  Here's an excerpt:

Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. defended their actions Friday involving a recently released study that raised questions about the effectiveness of cholesterol drugs Vytorin and Zetia.

The Food and Drug Adminstration, meanwhile, said it will review the partially completed study once it has been finished.

The companies are being sued in several states over allegations they misled consumers into thinking the drugs were more effective than generics. In a statement Friday, the companies said they acted "with integrity and good faith."

Last week, Merck and Schering-Plough released partial data from the controversial Enhance study, which ended in April 2006. The study results revealed cholesterol drug Vytorin is no more effective than a high dose of one of its components, Zocor, which is available generically at a third of the cost. Vytorin, developed by Merck and Schering-Plough, is a combination of Schering-Plough's Zetia and Merck's Zocor, which lost patent protection in June 2006. Zocor had been Merck's top-selling drug, with annual sales of about $5 billion, roughly the amount Vytorin and Zetia now bring in together.


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