Schering-Plough Profit Falls but Tops Forecasts

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Schering-Plough, whose shares fell earlier after its Vytorin cholesterol fighter failed another study, said its earnings dropped 23 percent on charges from its recent $16 billion acquisition of Organon BioSciences.

Net income fell to $398 million, or 24 cents a share, in the second quarter, from $517 million, or 34 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items and purchase-accounting adjustments, the drug maker earned 45 cents a share.

Revenue jumped 55 percent to $4.92 billion from $3.18 billion, helped by new products acquired in the November Organon deal.

Analysts had expected earnings of 42 cents a share on revenue of $4.77 billion, according to Thomson Financial.

Schering-Plough's cholesterol-busting franchise with Merck, Vytorin and Zetia, logged sales of $1.1 billion during the quarter, down $100 million from the first quarter.

The company's allergy business, Nasonex, saw sales of $311 million, up just $4 million sequentially, in what is supposed to be peak allergy season.

Schering-Plough shares lost 12 percent in regular trading after the company and Merck said a study showed Vytorin missed the mark on its primary and one of its secondary goals. After hours, Schering stock fell another 3 percent. (See Vytorin Didn't Slow Progression of Aortic Valve Disease)

Patients given Vytorin showed "no significant difference" than those given the placebo, the companies said. Also there were more cancer deaths in the Vytorin group than in the placebo, 39 compared with 23, but the study group was small, leaving open the possibility that it was due to statistical chance. The drug did, however, lower patient cholesterol by an average of 61 percent.

The companies were supposed to report earnings this morning but delayed until after the closing bell, pending this Vytorin news.