Generic Beats Pricey Pill on Cholesterol

Pharma stocks fall after in-house study hails 3-cent drug
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2008 5:42 PM CST
The Schering-Plough headquarters in Kenilworth, N.J., is seen in this Sept.. 6, 2006 file photograph. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A cheap generic drug cuts arterial buildup as well as a pricey pill and may threaten the growth of two drug companies, Bloomberg reports. Vytorin is produced by Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. and costs $2.84 per dose; simvastin, a generic, costs 3 cents a pill and works just as well, according to a new study. Stocks fell for both companies after the news broke today.

Schering fell $2.21, or 8%, and Merck dropped 77 cents, or 1.3%. Sponsored by the companies, the study looked at 720 victims of high cholesterol over 2 years, and found no statistical difference between users of Vytorin and simvastin. Investors are keen on the results because Vytorin and sister-drug Zetia sell $5 billion annually and are key to the growth of both companies, Reuters reports.