Schumer to Merck: Raise Your Prices Now

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  • 06/21/2006

How shameless can a politician be…Chuck Schumer attacking Merck for lowering it’s Zocor prices in response to impeding generic competition..Interestingly, when he introduced changes to the law promoting generic drugs he lauded his proposals as “all about promoting competition in the drug industry…” Except when it comes to creating competition for generic drug firms? Since when did they become a protected class and since when did protecting them become more important than consumers. Since about 15 percent of consumers stick with a generic after a switch, a Zocor price slash will save them money, Schumer rather than later.

June 20, 2006, 2:03PM
Senator Raps Drug Giant Over Zocor Price

By DEVLIN BARRETT Associated Press Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press

WASHINGTON â A New York senator accused the drug giant Merck & Co. on Tuesday of conspiring to undercut a cheaper generic alternative to its cholesterol-lowering drug Zocor just days before it becomes available to patients.

Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat, charged that Merck is quietly collaborating with health insurance companies to create lower copays for customers buying Zocor than for those buying the generic equivalent.

Zocor generated $4.4 billion in sales last year, and generic alternatives will be available for the first time on Friday. A company executive scoffed at Schumer’s allegations.

“It appears that Senator Schumer is criticizing us because he says that our prices are too low. That’s a new one,” said Ian Spatz, Merck’s vice president for public policy.

“The truth is that we support generic competition and the generic competition for Zocor is good for patients. It’s good for people who have to pay for medicine, which include health plans. We’re going to continue to price it competitively,” he said.


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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