Merck, Schering-Plough stocks take a dive

Yesterday Wall Stree wasn't so kind to Merck and Schering-Plough, both of which watched stock prices drop after experts warned consumers to avoid Vytorin if at all possible. Vyotrin is a combination of Merck's Zocor (now generic) and Schering-Plough's Zetia.

While the day started well for the two companies behind Vyotrin, the afternoon proved painful, with both companies suffering a 15 percent sink in stock prices.  

The news came after the well-respected New England Journal of Medicine editors said that the results of three studies could not disprove that the drug does not have an elevated cancer risk and left many unanswered questions. Journalists on the story interviewed several physicians who agreed with the editors.

The Vytorin/cancer link has been the center of debate since July, when it came to light that some patients in its SEAS study had developed cancer. Merck and Schering-Plough issued a statement in an attempt to quell debate over whether Vytorin increased the risk of cancer. According to their experts, the small number of reports indicated that it was "chance," not Vytorin, that caused patients to develop cancer. Last month, Congress began its own review of the SEAS study. The FDA followed suit with an investigation of the Vytorin data as well.

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