Product News and Recalls

Diabetes drug’s sales plummet

According to Reuters, Merck’s quarterly sales of diabetes drug Januvia – the company’s biggest product – took a nosedive in quarterly sales, which has investors concerned.

Overall, shares of the company fell 1.6 percent to $46.23 for the quarter. Though the company’s profit beat forecasts for the quarter, the Reuters story attributes that largely to a favorable tax rate.

Januvia has been the subject of some health concerns recently. Studies have linked the drug to a higher risk of pancreatitis (an inflammation of the pancreas) and pancreatic cancer.

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Byetta, another diabetes medication in the same class of class of drugs as Januvia, has also been linked to those ailments as well as an increased risk of thyroid cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating both Januvia’s and Byetta’s potential links with pancreatic cancer.

Although Januvia has been the Merck’s fastest-growing medicine since it was approved in 2006, sales fell 4 percent to $884 million, Reuters reports.

A Merck statement cited “pressures on sales that are greater than previously anticipated” as a reason for the lower profit outlook.

The company reported first-quarter net income of $1.59 billion, or 52 cents per share, compared with $1.74 billion, or 56 cents per share, a year ago. Overall sales fell 9 percent to $10.7 billion, which is below the $11.09 billion Wall Street expected.

You should consult with a doctor if you have any ongoing symptoms or health concerns, and before making any changes in medication. You should also consult with a Lopez McHugh attorney if you or a loved one was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after taking Januvia or Byetta.

See the story here:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/01/merck-results-idUSL2N0DI0FG20130501