Schering-Plough posted a whopping 63 percent increase in third-quarter revenue, to $4.58 billion. Some $1.4 billion of that came via the acquisition of Organon Biosciences--and 6 percent from currency gains--but discounting those items, the company still racked up gains, primarily from growth at Organon. And the sales figures topped Wall Street estimates of $4.49 billion. Earnings also beat the Street, despite a steep decline quarter-over-quarter; they came in at 34 cents per share, compared with analysts' forecasts of 31 cents.
The bad news is that Schering's cholesterol meds continued their downward slide. Sales of Zetia and Vytorin dropped by 15 percent to $1.1 billion. The company's take--after splitting with Merck--fell to $434 million from $506 million the same quarter last year. As you know, Vytorin and Zetia have been suffering since January from a spate of unflattering research. Though the sales decline seemed to have abated somewhat this summer, that's no longer the case. We'll be watching to see how low they can go.