It is right jolly well (heh!) to see Barron’s get a pretty definitive piece out — on how the new US heart risk/cholesterol guidelines will affect various investors in the pharma sector, in the coming months. We would just note that we said very much the same, and more directly, over two weeks ago, now.
[A smallish housekeeping note, now: We will probably fall silent starting this afternoon, likely until Sunday or so — Happy Thanksgiving, one and all.] Here is the Barron’s story — do go read it all:
. . . .Merck isn’t so fortunate. Its drug Zetia, which blocks cholesterol absorption from food, is one of many drugs doctors prescribe in combination with statins for patients unable to meet the old cholesterol targets. But the new guidelines discourage using medications that haven’t been shown to prevent heart attacks or strokes, including Zetia.
Zetia’s patent expires in 2017, so the hit is short-lived. Still, sales totaled $2.6 billion last year. Also, the drug is an ingredient in Vytorin – a combination of Zetia and Merck’s Zocor – which generated 2012 sales of $1.8 billion.
A clinical trial now underway could boost Merck’s fortunes – it is studying whether Vytorin can reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. The data are due in the fall of 2014. . . .
My only quibble would be that IMPROVE-IT may not be published until early 2015, if all the stars don’t align now, pretty quickly.
And so (“irony alert,” given the topic of tis post!), there is a huge wedge of sweet potato pie, with my name tatooed all over it — come tomorrow afternoon — warmed, with a big dollop of whipped cream. Carry on, citizens!