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Physicians Expect to Decrease First- and Second- Line Use of Vytorin in Wake of ENHANCE Trial Results, According to Study by GfK Market Measures

EAST HANOVER, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb 14, 2008 - Reacting to the release of the ENHANCE trial results that showed Vytorin, a combination of the statin simvastatin (Zocor) and ezetimibe (Zetia), provides no benefit over simvastatin alone in preventing the progress of arterial plaque buildup, physicians indicate they will shift Vytorin heavily to third-line, rather than first- or second- line use, in treating patients at risk for coronary heart disease, according to new research by GfK Market Measures.

While the research showed universal awareness of the ENHANCE results across all specialties--internists, general/family practitioners and cardiologists--general/family practitioners assert the most negative response to the trial findings. Respondents in this group anticipate nearly double the decline in first-line use of Vytorin (net change of -20 percent of patients), compared to those intended first-line prescribing figures reported by cardiologists (-9 percent of patients) and internists (-7 percent of patients). Use of Vytorin as second-line therapy is anticipated to decrease across all specialties, ranging from -8 percent to -14 percent of patients. Conversely, all specialties indicated an increase in third-line use of Vytorin, with a positive net change ranging from +20 percent to nearly +30 percent of patients.

As a further indication of general/family practitioners' particularly negative response to ENHANCE, respondents from this group participating in GfK Market Measures' 2008 Vytorin Market Event Study reported they will switch more than 40 percent of their patients currently on Vytorin or Zetia to other therapies over the next few months. In comparison, cardiologists and internists participating in the research study anticipate making the switch among a smaller portion of their patients (ranging from 25 percent to 30 percent).

"In light of the ENHANCE trial results' impact, there is obviously an opportunity over the next several months for Lipitor and Crestor to capture additional market share," said Anna Marie Napolitano, vice president and category business leader, cardiovascular, GfK Market Measures. "On the other hand, for Vytorin and Zetia, our research shows a window of opportunity to mitigate the negative impact of the trial results. With physicians counseling patients to wait until their next visit to discuss alternative therapies, Merck and Schering are challenged to provide credible evidence of advantages to maintain existing patients on the drugs, particularly as the FDA's review and report on the trial are not expected until later this year. As evidenced by this study, general/family practitioners will be critical targets for such efforts, as they show the strongest propensity to transition patients to other therapies."

More Than 150 Physicians Share Their Insights

Reflecting insights from 150 physicians including general/family practitioners, internists and cardiologists, fielded via Internet questionnaire during January 2008, GfK Market Measures' 2008 Vytorin Market Event Study provides insights into physicians' reactions to the ENHANCE trial (examining the effects of the combination ezetimibe and high-dose simvastatin vs. simvastatin alone on the atherosclerotic process in patients with Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia) results, which were released on Jan. 14, 2008.

About GfK Market Measures

GfK Market Measures provides health care clients with a unique mix of custom and syndicated solutions to support the full marketing continuum, including market assessment, brand tracking, sales force effectiveness, health care consumer and product launch applications. GfK Market Measures is a member of the GfK U.S. Healthcare Companies, the largest provider of custom health care marketing research services in the United States. For further information, visit For more details on this study or to schedule an interview with a GfK Market Measures executive, please contact Jessica Makovsky, group vice president of communications, GfK U.S. Healthcare Companies, at 215.283.3200 x372 or


GfK U.S. Healthcare Companies
Jessica Makovsky, 215-283-3200 x372
Group VP Communications
Fax: 215-283-3201

Posted: February 2008