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Cholesterol drugs boost Schering-Plough

Published on 09/02/07 at 03:11pm

A 60% increase in sales of its cholesterol drugs franchise has helped Schering-Plough to post strong growth for 2006.

Ezetrol and Inegy (known as Zetia and Vytorin in the US) were the two star products for the company last year, helping it complete two consecutive years of strong growth under chief executive Fred Hassan.

When Hassan took the top job in April 2003, sales were haemorrhaging due to generic competition to some of its top products, but the company is now resurgent

"We registered strong performance both for the recent quarter and for 2006," said Fred Hassan. "After three full years of progress under the Action Agenda, Schering-Plough is doing what we set out to do - deliver a solid record of performance while continuing an extraordinary transformation."

Hassan says a vital part of the company's strategy is to ensure it doesn't rely on just one product. Beyond its cholesterol franchise, rheumatoid arthritis product Remicade rose 32% percent, allergy drug Nasonex climbed 28%, and hepatitis treatment Peg-Intron was up 11 per cent.

After several years of cutbacks, Schering-Plough increased its spending in sales, marketing, and especially R&D, where outgoings rose 33% in the fourth quarter.Three of the company's most visible phase II projects have been granted fast-track designation by the FDA: a novel thrombin receptor antagonist for acute coronary syndrome and secondary prevention; vicriviroc for HIV; and a protease inhibitor compound for hepatitis C.


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