In another blow to the Merck/Schering-Plough joint venture, the FDA rejected a proposed allergy and asthma treatment that would have combined Schering's Claritin and Merck's Singulair into one pill. In announcing the "not-approvable" letter from the FDA, the two companies wouldn't say why the med was rejected or whether the venture intends to resubmit.
Claritin was a heavy-hitter drug for Schering until it went off-patent and over-the-counter. Singulair, of course, is among Merck's best-sellers, with $4.3 billion in 2007 sales. The combo wasn't expected to be a home run, but losing the opportunity to sell it at all will no doubt cost millions. So why not try again? "We're still looking at it, and still evaluating the future of the joint venture as well," a Schering spokesperson said.
Evaluating the future of the joint venture, you say? Inquiring minds want to know whether that last phrase was just a throwaway comment--or a harbinger of change.
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