Skip to Content

Vytorin Coverage with Leading Health Plans Revisited - See Uptake of Generic Simvastatin and Crestor Without Need for Widespread Formulary Changes

PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apr 21, 2008 - According to follow-up research from Cognet-X, Inc., conducted in the first week of April, pharmacy and medical executives at leading health plans still do not foresee widespread changes in how their organizations will cover Merck/Schering-Plough's cholesterol reducer Vytorin.

Among the reasons: more than three-quarters of those surveyed expect prescribing/utilization to shift dramatically from Vytorin to generic versions of simvastatin. Vytorin is a combination of the statin Zocor (simvastatin) and Zetia.

ENHANCE showed that Vytorin was not better than simvastatin alone at reducing arterial plaque build-up. Like simvastatin and Zetia, Vytorin is approved to lower cholesterol.

In addition to growth of generic simvastatin, panelists see prescribing/utilization gains for Crestor (AstraZeneca), and to a lesser extent, for Lipitor (Pfizer). Both are statins.

-- More than 35% of the medical executives surveyed - and nearly 60% of the pharmacy executives - expect more use of Crestor as a result of ENHANCE study findings.

-- Just under a third of the medical executives, and about 40% of the pharmacy executives, expect more prescribing of Lipitor.

Cognet-X's survey followed the March 30th American Cardiology Conference at which full ENHANCE study results were presented. Cognet-X first surveyed managed care executives during the week of Jan. 14, 2008, when preliminary ENHANCE data were released.

As in January, two-thirds of those surveyed in April saw few immediate formulary changes as a result of ENHANCE. Current controls such as tier positioning, step therapy and generics-first mandates effectively ensure appropriate use of Vytorin and Zetia, respondents said. Participants in the April survey have the ability to influence how drugs are covered for more than 200 million lives.

According to Cognet-X's Sharon Bender, Executive Director, Strategic Studies, "The health plans surveyed will likely see utilization shift from Vytorin to generic simvastatin, thus realizing cost savings through generic uptake. At the same time, they will have an opportunity to maximize rebate potential from increased use of Crestor and Lipitor.

"ENHANCE's short-term impact is to raise the bar for Merck/Schering-Plough in terms of demonstrating Vytorin's value and place in therapy relative to simvastatin and branded competitors."

About the Cognet-X Report

For more information about the Cognet-X Report, "Follow-up Payer Response to Enhance Study Results: A Managed Care Pharmacy/Medical Director Perspective," please contact Gayle Leahy at (215) 633-1630 ext. 121 or via e-mail:

About Cognet-X, Inc.

Cognet-X is a privately held, employee-owned healthcare research, consulting and software development firm based in Bucks County, PA. The company's focus is providing and developing business intelligence solutions centered on the managed care marketplace for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.


Cognet-X, Inc.
Gayle Leahy, 215-633-1630 ext. 121

Posted: April 2008