Pharmaceutical companies have been trying hard to squeeze as much revenue out of every drug they develop, which can mean seeking approval for different ailments or expansion of the groups that might benefit from that same drug.
The theory is that having already done the research and testing, they will expand the consumers of such medicine.
Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
Merck, for example, said Thursday that it will stop distributing Juvisync, which is a tablet that combines sitagliptin and simvastatin, to pharmacies and wholesalers in the United States and Puerto Rico.
Sitagliptin is the active ingredient in Januvia, which is Merck's top-selling drug and prescribed for type 2 diabetics in the hope that it will lower blood sugar. Simvastatin is medicine meant to lower cholesterol.
There is logic in the hope that the combination would work well and sell. Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol often occur in the same person. But this did not sell.
"This decision is for business reasons only and is not due to the efficacy or safety profile of Juvisync or the individual components," Merck said in its statement.
Merck's headquarters is in Whitehouse Station, N.J., and it has a big operation in West Point, Montgomery County.
Merck is still remaking its research and development department, under new R&D chief Roger Perlmutter. In July, he said he was looking at products, process and people.
In the Inquirer story at the time, Perlmutter said, "There is going to be focus on the products that matter most. There will be a series of changes that take place to improve efficiency, but there are not going to be big, enormous changes."
Perlmutter reiterated some of those thoughts in an interview with the Wall Street Journal earlier this week. A A link is here.