Earlier this week sales-rep forums were abuzz with a new promo push by Schering-Plough: The so-called 49 Plan, a seven-week wine-and-dine rush to turn the tide on Zetia. Scrips for the cholesterol med have dropped 17 percent since late last year and 3.8 percent year-over-year. That's after a controversial study showed that adding Zetia to now-generic Zocor--in the Merck/Schering-Plough med Vytorin--didn't forestall artery-clogging any better than Zocor alone.
The reps were skeptical; some at CafePharma even predicted that, without new positive data, a schmooze-fest would backfire. Well, it has certainly done that, though perhaps not in the way the sales folks expected. The Senate Special Committee on Aging is demanding documents about the plan from Schering-Plough. "I am troubled by any attempts to persuade physicians to prescribe a drug for any reason other than the patient's condition and the drug's effectiveness in treating it," wrote Sen. Herb Kohl, who chairs the committee. "Unfortunately, it appears that your '49 Plan' may do exactly that."