Second-quarter earnings at Schering-Plough have taken a battering as the decline in Vytorin sales takes effect but revenues have soared due to strong growth outside the USA.

Net income fell 23% to $398 million, hurt by sales from its cholesterol joint venture with Merck & Co, which include Vytorin (ezetimibe and simvastatin) and Zetia (ezetimibe), fell 9% to $1.1 billion. However, turnover climbed 54.8% to $4.92 billion, driven by the anti-inflammatory Remicade (infliximab), the Johnson & Johnson drug which S-P sells outside the USA.

Sales of the latter rose 41% to $557 million, while the anti-allergy medication Nasonex jumped 6% to $311 million. The brain cancer drug Temodar (temozolomide) increased 16% to $251 million, though the hepatitis C drug PegIntron (pegylated interferon) slipped 2% to $229 million. Revenues for the non-sedating antihistamine Clarinex (desloratadine) fell 4% to $240 million.

As for products S-P got hold of through its $16 billion acquisition of Organon Biosciences last year, Follistim/Puregon (follitropin beta), a fertility treatment, had sales of $162 million, while the contraceptive Nuvaring contributed $116 million.

Chief executive Fred Hassan was pleased with the results,saying that “our Phase III pipeline is now the strongest in our company's history” and the acquisition of Organon “has already met its accretion target”, of $0.10 per share for 2008. He added that 70% of total sales are generated outside the USA and “the combination of our broad portfolio, robust R&D pipeline and geographic breadth positions us well in this difficult environment."

However Mr Hassan’s enthusiasm was not shared by investors who were alarmed by the SEAS study on Vytorin (see related story) and S-P shares fell 11.6% to $18.95.