How many and from which offices? Thefiling with the Securities and Exchange Commission doesn't specify. We asked a Schering-Plough spokeswoman for clarity, but until we receive a reply, we are left to wonder whether this involves a securities matter, healthcare reimbursement or, perhaps, both.
To an extent, this is not surprising. As Schering-Plough notes in the filing, "Schering-Plough, the joint venture and/or its joint venture partner, Merck, have received a number of governmental inquiries and have been the subject of a number of investigations" concerning Vytorin. And most, but not, all of this has already been widely reported.
"These include several letters from Congress, including the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and the ranking minority member of the Senate Finance Committee, collectively seeking a combination of witness interviews, documents and information on a variety of issues" related since 2006 to the controversial Enhance trial, Vytorin promotion and advertising, and stock sales by execs, specifically, Schering-Plough's Carrie Cox.
Who else is asking for info? The probes "also include several subpoenas from state officials, including State Attorneys General, and requests for information from US Attorneys seeking similar information and documents." What we don't understand is why Merck didn't mention US Attorneys in its own quarterly filing made this week, unless the focus is on Schering-Plough exclusively at this point.
You may recall that, last month, Merck disclosed it expects equity income from the venture to fall by $700 million this year due to the hoopla over Vytorin. Unlike Merck, Schering-Plough has been unwilling to provide any numbers, probably because Schering-Plough is more vulnerable than Merck to a big drop in revenue.
That emerged on April 23 and, by the way, the next day, US Attorney Bob Kirsch of the Newark, New Jersey, office visited the Shearlings Got Plowed site after it ran a blow-by-blow of a Wall Street teleconference in which Hassan denied any such forecasts existed. Look here to see how Kirsch spent his sleuthing time.