Since launching last year, Schering-Plough's dual-action cholesterol-lowering product Vytorin has risen to sixth among the top nine lipid-lowering drugs, without cannibalizing sales of the firm's blockbuster cholesterol pill, Zetia.
Vytorin's 5 million prescriptions had rung up $496 million in sales as of July, according to IMS Health. And Vytorin has hardly caused a Zetia collapse. As of August, Vytorin had nabbed 7.7 percent of new prescriptions, outpacing Pravachol (pravastatin) at 6.7 percent and Crestor (rosuvastatin) at 5.8 percent.
Zetia holds 7.5 percent of new scripts and, over the same period, has reaped $1.1 billion in sales, IMS Health data show.
Vytorin is a combination of Zetia (ezetimibe) and Merck's Zocor (simvastatin). Simvastatin reduces production of LDL, or "bad cholesterol," in the liver, while Zetia reduces absorption of it in the intestine. Schering-Plough sells Vytorin and Zetia through a partnership with Merck.