Formerly “Feuding Cousins” Have Agreed To Part Ways: Merck No Longer Handles InSite’s AzaSite® Opti Products

Regular readers will recall that about two and a quarter years ago, Merck closed on its acquisition of Inspire Pharmaceuticals. Inspire, in turn, had a pact to market InSite’s AzaSite® eye products in the United States. And so — on closing the acquision, that duty to aggressively promote AzaSite — fell to Merck.

But there were stormy seas throughout apparently, with InSite suggesting that Merck wasn’t spending heavily enough to promote AzaSite, and (it claimed) Zylet® — a Bausch + Lomb product was gaining ground, against it. Merck responded by offering to pay more, and then made an additional marketing license payment.

Now we learn that Merck has decided to end the relationship, opting to quit — rather than (likely continuing to) fight — the B + L tide. Interesting. Merck made one final “true-up” marketing license payment to Insight in Q3 2013, and is now finished. Here is the Q3 2013 official report, from InSite, itself:

. . . .On August 1, 2013, Merck notified the Company [Insight] that it had ceased sales representative promotion of their ophthalmic products, including AzaSite, in the United States. The ophthalmic products, including AzaSite, will continue to be commercially available in the United States and physicians will be able to continue to prescribe the products for their patients. Merck’s obligation to make minimum royalty payments terminated on September 30, 2013. . . .

Some times, it’s wiser to quit — than fight. This was never going to be a material frnachise for Merck. So it goes. Finally, I’ll note that this may be one time where a “Fast” Fred Hassan led company actually had a better product, on market, than the competing Merck-promoted one. Small world. Huh.


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