Monday, September 22, 2008

For the year, Schering's Vytorin/Zetia is off about 30 percent. . . .

Although top-line ENHANCE disappointments were already known by mid-January 2008 (post January 14), the below graph offers a perspective on just how poorly things are going for the Joint Venture's Cholesterol Franchise, this year -- the overall U.S. cholesterol management market is off about 5 percent, from January to August -- while Schering's share is down a whopping 30 percent. [Click image to enlarge.]

And this 30 percent fall-off is occuring in a drug-line that generates about 50 percent of all of Schering-Plough's profitability. Ouch.


Anonymous said...

What are the actual numbers for the changes?

From this and your other post it looks as if almost the entire drop off in the US cholesterol market is due to drop offs in Vytorin/Zetia.

That may mean the market is largely stable and is cannibalizing the Vytorin/Zetia sales. If that's the case then it would be interesting to know where the sales are going to.


Condor said...

Good question, Salmon!

I don't think it is simply "cannibalizing", though. If it were, the market would hold steady, while Schering's share falls. The market looks to be down, as well. And Schering's share of it is down MORE (six times as much, proportionately).

But yes, I would love to know where the lost Schering sales are going -- back in April, Crestor was showing huge gains, month to month (but it was building from a much smaller base).

In any event, the below are from Schering's Form 8-K of yesterday:

January 2008 Total US Market:


August 2008 Total US Market:


January 2008 Vytorin/Zetia:


August 2008 Vytorin/Zetia:


[All per IMS -- data in 000s.]

Although I do not have access to the original IMS Monthly data-sets (for Pfizer's Lipitor, AZ's Crestor, Zocor or any other company's drug) -- it would seem that the perscriptions are actually falling, if only slightly, system-wide in the US.


Anonymous said...


The fall in total Rx's is 903,000, while the decrease in Vytorin/Zetia is 993,000.

Even though the total market is falling based on my reading of your numbers it could be due entirely to a decrease in Vytorin / Zetia with no decrease in any other drugs.

In fact ~10% of the Vytorin/Zetia could be going to other manufacturers. Of course we can't be sure of this without all the data.

I guess I should have been clearer originally. I meant largely stable except due to the drop in Vytorin/Zetia.


Condor said...

Salmon -- I truly respect your opinion, so I must be being thick here (or something!), but by my math, yours can only be true, IF almost ALL the patients "leaving" Vytorin or Zetia behind -- take NO OTHER MEDICATION, in its place.

And that scenario seems unlikely, in my experience.

I think the patients "lost" to Zetia/Vytorin, have simply switched back to pure statins, and thus, this is a "real" market-wide contraction (albeit only about a 5 percent contraction).

Doesn't that make sense to you?

Of course, as you point out, and we both know, without the other companies' IMS data we cannot be absolutely certain.

Like I said, perhaps I am missing something, but the red portion of the bar-graph I prepared seems to tell me otherwise.

Anonymous said...


I agree with you. We're each working with different assumptions. In one case all Vytorin/Zetia patients who go off those meds switch and in the other they simply don't take anything else.

The truth is probably in the middle and honestly I think that it's likely closer to your position. Regardless, my point was that the decrease in Vytorin/Zetia may be driving the majority of the market contraction and without data we can't be sure that at least one of the others hasn't actually had an increase in sales.

Being able to outperform the competition in a bad environment in and of itself is informative, and might even spell worse news for Vytorin/Zetia than simply a contraction across the board.

As always I enjoy your posts and will continue to follow.

Personally I'm curious to see how the recent financial meltdown may effect the case against Fred and Carrie. I suspect that when things get to trial that this may color perceptions with a throw the bums in jail mentality.