Third-quarter earnings at Schering-Plough have taken a battering, hit by charges relating to its acquisition of Organon BioSciences, though products from the latter have helped revenues soar.

Net income fell 23% to $551 million, while sales leapt 63% to $4.6 billion. This was despite its cholesterol joint venture with Merck & Co, which includes Vytorin (ezetimibe and simvastatin) and Zetia (ezetimibe), posting a 15% revenue decrease to $1.1 billion.

However, that decline was more than compensated for by the performance of the anti-inflammatory Remicade (infliximab), the Johnson & Johnson drug which S-P sells outside the USA. Sales of the latter rose 32% to $564 million, while the anti-allergy medication Nasonex was up 6% to $258 million, as international markets offset a decline in US sales.

The brain cancer drug Temodar (temozolomide) increased 27% to $273 million, while the hepatitis C drug PegIntron (pegylated interferon) was up 6% to $235 million, helped by favourable foreign exchange. Revenues for the non-sedating antihistamine Clarinex (desloratadine) rose 3% to $176 million.

As for products S-P got hold of through its $16 billion acquisition of Organon, Follistim/Puregon (follitropin beta), a fertility treatment, had sales of $142 million, while the contraceptive Nuvaring contributed $118 million.

Chief executive Fred Hassan said that "despite a tough environment and challenges to the US cholesterol JV products, we delivered strong sales and earnings while investing in R&D and paying down debt”. He added that S-P has continued “to grow our top line, grow our pipeline, reduce costs and invest wisely”, noting that “now with almost one year of experience, we are seeing that the acquisition of Organon is resulting in a powerful combination”.

The results were in line with analyst expectations and Deutsche Bank's Barbara Ryan said that the Organon acquisition dilutes S-P's dependence on the Merck JV.