Antidote

Share this article:
Normally, I wouldn't use this column as a forum to comment on mergers or acquisitions. But the purchase of Schering- Plough by Merck is not only interesting for financial reasons in the middle of our collapsing economy. 

Both companies have been very interesting to watch over the past few years, not least because of the combination product Vytorin (Merck's Zocor and Schering's Zetia), which came under fire as a result of one 2008 study that seemed to show that the combination wasn't more effective at preventing the buildup of plaque in the heart than was Zocor alone. 
                             
Merck has been hit over the past few years with public attacks, several of which were unfair or overblown. Issues have included possible cardiac risks with Vioxx, effectiveness of Vytorin, and questions about how the Gardisil vaccine for HPV was marketed. I believe that Merck may have received more negative attention over the Vytorin study than Schering-Plough, probably because of its higher profile. But Merck at least partially compensated for these difficulties with its new diabetes drug, Januvia, which has been a groundbreaking treatment, restoring faith in Merck's pipeline.  
     
Januvia is well tolerated and has been very successful, and is more than 10% of Merck's entire revenue. In 2007, Merck sold $1.75 billion worth of Januvia and a combo pill Janumet. Januvia should help Merck to shake its reputation of producing too many “me-too” drugs. And joining with Schering-Plough should help that image too. At a time like this, it is good to see these two behemoths joining forces.

Marc Siegel, MD, is an internist and professor of medicine at New York University and the author of False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear
Share this article:
You must be a registered member of MMM to post a comment.

Email Newsletters

MM&M EBOOK: PATIENT ACCESS

Patient access to pharmaceuticals is a tale of two worlds—affordability has improved for the majority, while the minority is hampered by cost, distribution and red tape. To provide marketers with a well-rounded perspective, MM&M presents this e-book chock full of key insights. Click here to access it.

More in Features

Read the complete September 2014 Digital Edition

Read the complete September 2014 Digital Edition

Click the above link to access the complete Digital Edition of the August 2014 issue of MM&M, with all text, charts and pictures.

Medical marketing needs mainstream Mad Men

Medical marketing needs mainstream Mad Men

Agencies must generate emotional resonance with the target audience, not unlike Apple, Pepsi or Nike

Are discounts cutting out co-pays?

GSK's decision to cut Advair's price spurred some PBMs to put it back on formulary. Will drugmaker discounts diminish the need for loyalty programs? How can these programs stay relevant beyond giving co-pay assistance?