Future of Merck cholesterol sales could hang on long-awaited study

November 12, 2014 9:57 PM

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(Reuters) - A nine-year, 18,000-patient study of Merck & Co's $4 billion Zetia and Vytorin cholesterol franchise is likely to show some benefit but keep open the question of whether it can significantly reduce heart attacks, strokes and death.

The Improve-It trial is aimed at determining whether Zetia - which is also combined with Merck's now generic statin Zocor (simvastatin) to make Vytorin - does more than reduce "bad" LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream, the basis for which it was approved.

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