Junkfood Science: Update: Schering-Plough President dumped $28 million in company stock before the Vytorin controversy hit

January 15, 2008

Update: Schering-Plough President dumped $28 million in company stock before the Vytorin controversy hit

Brandweek NRx just reported that the “President of Schering-Plough, dumped 900,000 shares of SGP stock last year worth $28 million shortly before prominent cardiologists and later Forbes and the New York Times started questioning the two-year delay in getting the results of the ENHANCE study.”

Ms Carrie Smith Cox had joined Schering-Plough in 2003 as Executive Vice President and President of Global Pharmaceuticals for SPC.

In July, 2007, (2 months after she'd completed the last of her share sells) Bloomberg quoted her saying: “Both Vytorin and Zetia set new market-share highs.” Global sales of Vytorin and Zetia had grown 30% to $1.2 billion, helping Schering-Plough report its eighth straight quarter of profit, according to the Bloomberg story. But Bloomberg had also quoted Les Funtleyder, an analyst with Miller Tabak & Co. LLC, as saying that people were beginning to sell because the stock price had peaked.

Yesterday, the Congressional Committee on Energy and Commerce said their investigation of the ENHANCE trial would continue. Representative John D. Dingell said:

Today’s announcement that the ENHANCE study failed to find any positive benefit from the addition of Zetia to a common, inexpensive, generic therapy raises concerns that attempts were made to mask the minimal value of this new drug. Additionally, Merck and Schering-Plough’s delay in releasing study results, as well as their attempt to manipulate the data is, quite frankly, suspicious... Why did Merck and Schering-Plough go to great lengths to delay the study results? Why did they attempt to manipulate the data? We will continue our investigation until these questions are answered.

However, according to Brandweek: "Lee Davies, a spokesman for Schering, said the delay was unrelated to the negative findings and that the companies had not known the results until two weeks ago."

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