On page 31 of the just-filed SEC Form 10-Q, Schering-Plough attributes the weakening sales in Intervet to "intense competition" and "frequent introduction of generic products", thus:
. . . .Animal Health global net sales totaled $677 million in the 2009 second quarter, a 17 percent decrease as compared to $818 million in the second quarter of 2008. Excluding the unfavorable impact of foreign exchange of 10 percent, Animal Health sales would have been down by 7 percent as compared to the second quarter of 2008. The sales decline was a result of the overall economic environment, difficult comparisons against the 2008 launch of bluetongue vaccine and the impact of 2008 product divestitures. For the six months ended June 30, 2009, Animal Health sales decreased by 15 percent from $1.5 billion to $1.3 billion. The Animal Health segment’s sales growth rate is impacted by intense competition and the frequent introduction of generic products. . . .
On the other hand, Schering-Plough executives regularly feed, and encourage, the analysts' mantra that animal health businesses see few generic product introductions, and that "people will pay (almost) anything" when it comes to their pets. See this, as but one recent example:
. . . .As large pharmaceutical companies look for ways to diversify and defend against generic drug rivals, they are finding animal health offers consistent growth and limited competition. . . .
So, which version is the truth? The former -- not the latter -- of course. And Schering-Plough very-well-knows this.
But at the moment, Schering and Merck very much need to sell one or more Animal Health businesses -- to clear the FTC, and Hart Scott Antitrust review. So the spin wears thin -- and thinner -- out there in the financial (flogging) press outlets. Sometimes, the MSM seems to be a simple stenography pool, no?