Bye Bye to Vytorin Ads

Forbes has an excellent article reviewing the situation called, "The Vytorin Consensus."

Meanwhile the drug companies have decided to pull their cartoon-like television ads. They were a travesty comprised of misleading double talk from the beginning.

Companies Pull TV Ads for Vytorin

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. said Tuesday they have suspended TV ads for Vytorin, a week after a study revealed the cholesterol drug is no more effective than a high dose of one of its components available generically at a third of the cost.

Vytorin, developed by Merck and Schering-Plough, is a combination of Zetia and Merck's Zocor, which lost patent protection in 2006.

The companies market Zetia and Vytorin jointly and split the profits. Shares of both companies fell Tuesday.

The ads tell viewers that about the genetic and dietary causes of high cholesterol — "food and family" — and show "family members" interspersed with food.

Ads have also been pulled for Zetia, said Skip Irvine, a spokesman for Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals.

"We've made the decision to voluntarily and temporarily suspend direct-to-consumer broadcast advertising in light of mischaracterization and misinterpretation of the enhanced trial results," he said, declining to elaborate or comment on the data.

However, he said print ads will continue.

The study of 720 patients was meant to show how well Vytorin reduced plaque buildup in neck arteries in people whose genes gave them stratospheric cholesterol.

Instead, it showed $100-a-month Vytorin was no more effective and perhaps a bit worse than Zocor alone, which is sold as a generic for a third as much.

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