Almost without a whisper, two very large pharma companies — on July 31 (Merck), and on August 1, 2008 (Schering-Plough) — made their Second Quarter periodic disclosures on Forms 10-Q, to the SEC, and the investing public, at large.
I am puzzled that here, seven full days later, most news outlets have not yet run blurbs alerting the public to the filings (think Bloomberg, here). That is unusual — but I think it is unusual, because the companies themselves usually send a wire notice of significant periodic financial SEC fiiings to the financial news outlets. Apparently, not so this time.
I am entirely unconvinced that this was some sort of vain attempt to “hide” anyhing — for to expound that notion, is to expose it — as patently silly. One cannot “hide” SEC filings. No, I now think the SEC took a few days (perhaps lasting into yesterday afternoon) to clear the requests for confidential treatment Merck, at least, made — as to the various Joint Venture contract amendments. [I am still puzzled that Schering did not file them as exhibits to the Schering Form 10-Q, as well — as the applicable SEC rules plainly require Schering to do so.]
All of that said, I remain astonished that Schering’s SEC filing puts one of the key concerns from the SEAS study data in its third-full paragraph, while Merck makes the SEAS cancer incidence data its second full sentence of disclosure, on that topic. Morevoer, Schering’s filing makes no mention of the FDA’s now required language on Vytorin cardiac morbidity rates. Merck, in stark contrast to Schering, sets it forth, right up front. Odd. Truly.
Were I a plaintiffs’ lawyer, I might be inclined to make a little hay in front of Judge Cavanaugh on these differential disclosures — especially given that the Cholesterol Joint Venture’s Equity Income is clearly a larger proportion of Schering’s results — than Merck’s. Wow.