Hassan's advice for hard times

When the interview subject is adversity, who better to question than Schering-Plough's Fred Hassan, who's seen his share this year? BusinessWeek chatted with the Schering CEO about dealing with hard times, and he delivered some familiar words about tough times making people stronger. One key, Hassan says, is facing up to problems instead of ignoring them or submitting to "a downward spiral of complaining and commiserating." Another: seeking help from colleagues.

For anyone who's followed the whole Vytorin-Zetia-Enhance series of unfortunate events, the advice is familiar. When the American College of Cardiology meeting yielded advice against Vytorin--one of Schering Plough's biggest moneymakers, in partnership with Merck--Hassan didn't waste time. He asked Schering's key execs for their input and came up with a cost-cutting plan to help make up the revenues Schering was sure to lose to falling Vytorin sales. We suppose that qualifies as facing up to a problem. Maybe Hassan wishes he'd faced up to the original problem--releasing the not-too-flattering data on Vytorin from the Enhance study--a little sooner than he did.

- read the Business Week interview