This has been a nearly two-year theme of mine: Merck, despite all its other shortcomings, tends to tell the whole truth (that links to a Q1 2008 example I long-ago highlighted) -- at least in its SEC filings.
Schering-Plough? Not. So. Much. And this shortcoming will become even clearer, should asenapine win FDA approval, and the proposed reverse-merger's closing be delayed for any significant period of time (allowing for continued SEC reporting by "Old" Schering-Plough -- into 2010).
Recall that CEO Fred Hassan twice said -- during January and February 2009 -- that US sales of Vytorin/Zetia were "generally stabilizing". That turned out to be untrue. Most recently, in its Form 10-Q, Schering-Plough wrote
". . . .Current or future investigations, analysis of the ENHANCE, SEAS, or other clinical trials, data by various agencies, litigation concerning the sale and promotion of these products, or the securities and other class action litigation relating to such matters could, if resolved unfavorably to Schering-Plough or the joint venture, have a material adverse effect on Schering-Plough’s results of operations, cash flow and financial position. . . ."
Stultifyin', no? [Note that everything -- everything! -- is someone else's fault, in his version. No mention that any study result, all by itself (as opposed to someone's impliedly "goofy" analysis of any such result) might cause a decline.]
Now, contrast that last statement with Merck's just filed Form 10-Q, on the same topic (at page 48):
. . . .The Merck/Schering-Plough partnership (the “MSP Partnership”) reported combined global sales of Zetia and Vytorin of $1.03 billion for the second quarter of 2009, representing a decline of 10% over the second quarter of 2008. Sales for the first six months of 2009 were $1.98 billion, a decline of 17% compared with the first six months of 2008. Global sales of Zetia, the cholesterol-absorption inhibitor also marketed as Ezetrol outside the United States, were $513.5 million in the second quarter of 2009 and $992.8 million for the first six months of 2009, representing declines of 8% and 13%, respectively, compared with the same periods of 2008. Global sales of Vytorin, marketed outside the United States as Inegy, were $519.9 million in the second quarter of 2009 and $985.9 million for first six months of 2009, representing declines of 12% and 21%, respectively, compared with the same periods of 2008. Sales of Zetia and Vytorin have declined following the previously disclosed announcement of the ENHANCE and SEAS clinical trial results in 2008. In the United States, the rate of prescription market share decline for Zetia and Vytorin is slowing. . . .
Direct, accurate and solid. No attempt to blame the real sales decline on "press overreactions" -- to "minor studies, misunderstood". That's more like it. Net, net -- it may very-well turn out to be a good thing that Merck is essentially wiping out the Schering-Plough sychophant (Kenilworth) SEC reporting and disclosure staff. . . .