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Merck And SGP's Vytorin/Zetia: Doctors Writing Fewer Scripts?

CNBC.com

CNBC and other media outlets have done a significant amount of reportingon cardiologists' reaction to the Vytorin/Zetia study and the effect the ACC panel's opinion might have on the heart doctors' prescription writing.

But what about the work-a-day primary care physicians who actually write the overwhelming majority (an estimated 75 percent) of the scripts for cholesterol-lowering drugs?

Well, Deutsche Bank this morning is out with the results of a survey it did involving 101 PCPs. And it doesn't look good for MRK and SGP . AstraZeneca , though, may come through smelling like a rose.

DB's big pharma analyst Barbara Ryan writes in the research note to clients: "These datapoints suggest both additional abrupt and sustained declines for Vytorin and Zetia and increased utilization of other statins, especially Crestor." AZN makes Crestor and last week it ended one study early because the drug worked so well.

The Detusche poll shows that on average Vytorin scripts will fall from 16 percent market share to nine percent. And Zetia's piece will drop from nine-and-a-half percent to six percent. Overall, Ryan expects a total Vytorin and Zetia "unit decline" of 32 percent this year.

The survey says doctors are or will be putting fewer patients on Vytorin and Zetia and switching some of their patients off of those drugs.

They'll be moved onto Pfizer's Lipitor and generic Zocor, but Ryan believes: "the primary beneficiary in terms of share gains appears to be Crestor."

Deutsche Bank makes a market in SGP & MRK and owns at least one percent of the shares of both.

Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com