Schering-Plough, which is in the midst of a dramatic turnaround aimed at reviving both sales and profits triggered by government fines, investigations into both financial disclosures and its sales and marketing practices [[20/05/02b]], [[22/04/03a]], [[19/11/03a]], recorded a $70 million net loss in the second quarter of 2005, versus a $65 million loss during the same period last year [[21/07/04c]].

The figure included special charges of $259 million, $250 million of which was added to litigation reserves relating to an investigation into its marketing, sales, pricing and clinical trial practices by the Massachusetts attorney, as well as other investigations and litigation relating to company practices regarding average wholesale price by the Department of Justice and certain US states.

On the bright side, quarterly revenues rose 18% to $2.5 billion, driven by the growth of prescription drugs. Sales of the Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis drug, Remicade (infliximab), were up 29% to $234 million, due primarily to greater demand, while Temodar (temozolomide) for the treatment of certain types of brain tumors topped $145 million – up 42%, benefiting from increased use for treating the most prevalent form of brain cancer, newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme [[13/06/05d]]. Also posting higher sales in the quarter was Caelyx (pegylated liposomal doxorubicin), for the treatment of ovarian cancer, metastatic breast cancer and Kaposi’s sarcoma, which rose 30% to $46 million, largely as a result of increased use in treating breast and ovarian cancer. The antihistamine, Nasonex (mometasone furoate monohydrate), climbed 28% to $199 million, but Clarinex (desloratadine), dropped 8% to $207 million. From the hepatitis C franchise, Rebetol (ribavirin plus interferon alfa-2b) was up 3% to $91 million and Peg-Intron (pegylated interferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin) rose 26% to $182 million. And it was good news from the cholesterol franchise, which is partnered with Merck & Co. Vytorin (ezetimibe/simvastatin) and Zetia (ezetimibe) have captured more than 12% of new prescriptions in the nearly $20 billion US cholesterol management market, S-P said.

Chief executive, Fred Hassan, said that the firm was planning to intensify its focus on licensing and business development to further strengthen its pipeline, and to continue to invest in advancing its important new compounds through the pipeline – including innovative potential new treatments for AIDS, hepatitis C and thrombosis.