This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Friday's Health Winners & Losers

Health stocks ended the week without fireworks but with continued Vytorin discussions, earnings and regulatory actions -- and interactions.

Merck (MRK) and Schering-Plough (SGP) issued a response on Friday to the criticism of the companies' handling of Vytorin, the Zetia-plus-statin drug that in a clinical trial (called Enhance) showed no advantage to lessening plaque buildup in arteries over a statin alone. The pricier Vytorin, which has been shown to lower cholesterol more so than statins, has been the center of questions as speculation swirls about the reasoning behind the long-delayed release of the Enhance trial data and the implications of the results.

The companies said they strongly object to mischaracterizations about the study. "While the ENHANCE trial was time consuming and took longer than originally anticipated to complete, our companies acted with integrity and good faith in connection with the trial. We took numerous actions to assure the quality of the reading of the ultrasound images," said Thomas Koestler, president of Schering-Plough Research Institute in a release.

The Food and Drug Administration then held a press briefing Friday afternoon, noting that the lowering of LDL cholesterol is a widely accepted measure of the success of lipid-lowering drugs and an accepted endpoint that's the basis for approval for such drugs. The agency said that it doesn't require the reduction cardiovascular risk or stroke in order to approve such drugs, and noted that it wouldn't change its approval process for such drugs at this point.

The FDA said it could be late this year before it will be able to complete a review of the study results. And it will remain to be seen until data from another study is available in 2011 whether the reduction in cholesterol translates into reduced risk of adverse cardiovascular events. Watch for more coverage on the FDA briefing and the Merck/Schering data from TheStreet.com writer Melissa Davis.

Merck traded down 3.6% to $47.79, and Schering-Plough fell 5.7% to $19.02. Both stocks are components of the Amex pharmaceutical index, which was down 2.2% at 314.21.

Cephalon (CEPH) said Friday that the FDA accepted the company's supplemental new-drug application (sNDA) for Fentora for the management of breakthrough pain in opioid-tolerant patients with chronic pain. But the agency notified the Company that it will convene an advisory committee panel on May 6 to consider the application. The FDA often calls a panel of experts to discuss questions or concerns about data or a product in general, and typically takes the panels' recommendation on whether to approve it, although it's not bound to. Shares fell 4.7% to $65.86.

Amgen (AMGN) shares were up on Friday, after Thursday postclose the company divulged quarterly and year-end earnings, and separately released positive data on osteoperosis drug Denosumab.

The company said adjusted earnings for the recent quarter came in at roughly $1.09 billion, or $1 a share, on an adjusted basis (a 11% increase from the year-ago quarter) on revenue of $3.7 billion, a 2% decrease year over year. The company edged past expectations of Wall Street analysts who were looking on average for 97 cents a share on revenue of $3.56 billion.

For the year, Amgen reported adjusted earnings of $4.8 billion, or $4.29 a share, on revenue of $14.8 billion, also high in comparison to the Street consensus of $4.26 a share on revenue of $14.57 billion. Quarterly worldwide sales of anemia drug Aranesp fell 25% year over year to $827 million, and sales of Epogen fell 3% year over year.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,912.11 -70.48 -0.42%
S&P 500 1,969.95 -8.96 -0.45%
NASDAQ 4,442.6980 -2.2110 -0.05%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs