Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. has suspended TV ads for Vytorin, a week after a study revealed the cholesterol drug is no more effective than a high dose of one of its components available generically at a third of the cost.
Vytorin, developed by Merck and Schering-Plough, is a combination of Zetia and Merck’s Zocor, which lost patent protection in 2006.
The ads tell viewers that about the genetic and dietary causes of high cholesterol — "food and family" — and show "family members" interspersed with food.
Ads have also been pulled for Zetia, Skip Irvine, a spokesman for Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, told the AP. "We’ve made the decision to voluntarily and temporarily suspend direct-to-consumer broadcast advertising in light of mischaracterization and misinterpretation of the enhanced trial results," he said, declining to elaborate or comment on the data. However, he said print ads will continue.