Vytorin, Zetia scrips drop 13 percent

This doesn't look much like a rebound to us. It's more like a bounce downhill. Vytorin and Zetia prescriptions dropped 13 percent in February, to 2.8 million from 3.2 million in January. That drop, of course, came after Merck and Schering-Plough announced the results of their controversial Enhance study, which showed that the Vytorin combo of Zetia and simvastatin wasn't any better at preventing artery-clogging than simvastatin alone. It's also because February was a short month; overall cholesterol scrips also fell by 7 percent.

Last month, you'll recall, Schering CEO Fred Hassan told analysts that the company had seen scrips start to recover from an initial drop right after the study results were announced January 14. Now, both companies say that wholesalers are slowing down their purchases of the two meds and cutting inventories, too--moves that could worsen the drop in demand.

Meanwhile, the companies are hoping that a presentation at the American College of Cardiology will help stabilize sales. There, more details about the Enhance study will be released to heart docs and researchers.

- see the story at CNN Money

ALSO: The FDA has granted pediatric exclusivity to Vytorin and Zetia, which will add six months to the drugs' patents. The meds aren't approved for kids--yet--but the companies have agreed to study them for pediatric use; in exchange for that extra data, they get the extended patent protection. Report

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