Taking Zocor OTC in the UK: A Testing Ground for US Strategy?
The UK is set to become the first country in the world to see the launch of an OTC statin. In May 2004, UK regulators endorsed a switch application for Merck's once best-selling statin Zocor, genericized in 2003. Zocor Heart Pro will be targeted at an entirely different patient population to those currently on prescription statins. Tapping into this new market could in theory help Merck recoup some of the revenues it lost to generics in the prescription market. Yet the switch is perhaps less about generating small incremental UK revenues for Merck than about showing the FDA that making statins OTC is a viable and safe move.
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