If you have a paid-up subscription, you will be able to read the whole article for yourself, but The Pink Sheet Daily is reporting that, for the first time, New Merck’s Zetia® (ezetimibe), half of the Vytorin® combo-pill, is being reviewed for a price downgrade in parts of the EU.
Any unfavorable final conclusion would harbor an erosion in the EU sales revenue New Merck reports for the pill. By way of recent trend analysis, during Q1 2011, Zetia sales grew at a 12 percent clip (net of currency effect) to just over $480 million in the quarter. That will certainly not persist, and may even show a sequential decline, if the drug loses its highly-favored reimbursement rate in Britain and Germany — two of the biggest non-US markets for the cholesterol management drug franchise. [If you want more background, click the legacy graphic, at right.]
More specifically, the article reports that NICE is reevaluating ezetimibe this summer for the first time since 2007, and the German equivalent to NICE gave Zetia a thumbs down in a preliminary report dated May 3, 2011. If the final report confirms that, reimbursement will be cut for ezetimibe in Germany, as well.
The EU cholesterol management franchise revenue downdraft, when/if it comes, will appear, in fullest force, in New Merck’s Q3 2011 results. We will keep you posted. [With a very-sincere H/T to our anonymous friends.]