Can Merck boost Singulair sales?

One of the shining stars over at Merck has been Singulair, the allergy and asthma med that pulled in some $4.4 billion last year. Well, for the most recent quarter, sales actually slipped by 1 percent as patients have defected to the new over-the-counter Zyrtec sold by Johnson & Johnson. Plus, the FDA's March announcement of a probe into a potential link between Singulair and suicidal behavior--and a fairly mild spring allergy season--didn't help. Merck acknowledged the flattening sales, lowering its forecast to a range of $4.4 billion to $4.6 billion from its previous estimate of $4.6 billion to $4.8 billion.

What can Merck do to turn it around? The company is offering $20 coupons for Singulair on its website, and it extended its spring ad campaign into the summer. "[W]e are taking additional steps to further support the brand," the company said late last month. Third-quarter sales figures will show just how successful those efforts turn out to be.

- read the story in CNN Money

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