Schering CEO sees drag on Euro sales

For evidence that the economic squeeze isn't contained within U.S. borders, just listen to Schering-Plough CEO Fred Hassan (photo). With 70 percent of its sales derived internationally, Schering is sensitive to the market pressures in other countries--and Hassan says Europe is especially feeling the pain. And those governments are passing along that pain to pharma firms, he says.

"When governments come under stress... they really have to do drastic things," Hassan told the Wall Street Journal Health Blog. And because local docs and hospitals have political pull that multinational pharmas don't, "there's a tendency to squeeze drugs a little harder." In Italy, for instance, the economic troubles have slammed sales of the arthritis med Remicade, which Schering licenses from J&J outside the U.S.

The upshot? Europe's weakness may force Schering to cut growth projections for 2009 and even beyond, Hassan said. But emerging markets could help make up some of the difference.

- read the Health Blog post