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February 6, 2008 | Bill Berkrot, Reuters
Fred Hassan rode to the rescue of a foundering Schering-Plough Corp. in 2003, and by 2006, with a remarkable turnaround declared complete, the company was back on a growth trajectory. But the highly regarded chief executive unexpectedly finds himself at the center of a firestorm involving the cholesterol drug that fueled the company's reversal of fortune. The furor over Vytorin threatens the reputation of the drug industry's golden boy and, some say, his job. Schering-Plough and Merck & Co.
January 26, 2008 | From Reuters
U.S. regulators said Friday that they would review whether to take action over Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp.'s popular cholesterol drug Vytorin after a study showed it was no better than a generic in preventing the buildup of fatty plaque in blood vessels. The Food and Drug Administration said it had not received a final report on the study, called Enhance. The agency's review of Vytorin will take about six months after final results are received, the FDA said.
April 7, 2008 | Karen Ravn, Special to The Times
The cholesterol drug did absolutely everything it was supposed to do -- except for demonstrably improving the health of the people who took it. That was the conclusion reached about the popular drug Vytorin in a study published online last week in the New England Journal of Medicine. The results were a disappointment to the millions of patients who take Vytorin and the thousands of doctors who prescribe it; a blow to its manufacturers, Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp.
January 15, 2008 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
The heavily advertised drug Vytorin is no better than an inexpensive generic drug at blocking the damaging effects of high cholesterol levels, according to new data released by the drug's manufacturers Monday. In a study of 720 patients funded by the manufacturers, Vytorin -- a combination of the drugs simvastatin and ezetemibe -- reduced levels of LDLs, the so-called bad cholesterol, by about 29% more than simvastatin alone.
April 21, 2006 | From Reuters
Stellar sales of their shared cholesterol drugs spurred Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co. to better-than-expected quarterly results Thursday, but investors were disappointed by Eli Lilly & Co. as sales of its biggest product continued to slide. Schering-Plough was the star of the day as its first-quarter earnings more than tripled on increased sales of virtually all of its prescription medicines.
March 31, 2008 | Daniel Costello, Times Staff Writer
Two of the world's bestselling drugs to lower cholesterol may have no benefit, researchers reported Sunday in a development that could significantly alter how patients are treated for heart disease. Based on the news, a top medical journal encouraged doctors to stop routinely prescribing them. Vytorin and a related drug, Zetia, did not reduce fatty plaque in arteries any more than a cheaper generic, researchers said at a major cardiology conference in Chicago.
July 27, 2004 | From Associated Press
Vytorin, the first pill to lower cholesterol in two ways, should hit pharmacy shelves within weeks, the makers said Monday as they promised heavy marketing and a discounted price to battle the top-selling competition. A joint venture of pharmaceutical companies Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. won Food and Drug Administration approval late Friday for Vytorin. The drug is crucial for both companies. Schering-Plough of Kenilworth, N.J.
January 23, 2008 | From Bloomberg News
Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. suspended television ads Tuesday for the cholesterol pills Vytorin and Zetia after a study questioned the benefit of the medicines. The Vytorin commercials were among the most widely aired drug ads, featuring people dressed as food items to show the pill lowers cholesterol from food as well as from genetics. The ads were voluntarily and temporarily halted, Schering-Plough spokesman Lee Davies said.
April 3, 2008 | From the Associated Press
Days after top cardiologists criticized Schering-Plough Corp.'s crucial cholesterol drugs Vytorin and Zetia, sending its stock price tumbling, the drug maker said Wednesday that it would make $1 billion in cost cuts through layoffs and other reductions. The cutbacks come on top of $500 million in reductions announced previously after the Kenilworth, N.J.-based company acquired biopharmaceutical firm Organon BioSciences late last year.
April 1, 2008 | From Bloomberg News
Shares of Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. sank Monday after heart doctors said millions of people taking the cholesterol drugs Vytorin and Zetia should switch to older, cheaper drugs that work as well. Schering-Plough dived 26%, the most since at least 1980, after doctors at the American College of Cardiology meeting in Chicago, where full results of a trial of the drugs were released Sunday, said physicians should limit prescriptions for the companies' jointly sold drugs.
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