Sarah Glass helped Merck Pharmaceuticals understand the future
prospects for ZETIA, a cholesterol drug that works in the digestive
tract to lower LDL cholesterol. The firm anticipated the entry of a
variety of new competing drugs focused on HDL and triglycerides, and
they wanted to understand how the changing marketplace would affect
future ZETIA sales and what they might do about it.
Sarah had plenty of data to work with. Almost too much data!
Merck/Schering-Plough had detailed, but anonymous, information about every
prescription written for ZETIA over the last 24 months. Although
way too big for Excel to handle, Sarah used her familiarity with
Pivot tables to supervise the ensuing summary analyses of ZETIA use
by patient groupings of various kinds.
Sarah next used the data to calibrate a regression model
designed to forecast sales of ZETIA as a function of the growth
expected in various usage categories under various competitive
Unfortunately, most of Sarah's insights and recommendations must
remain confidential. We do know that her analysis is now being
incorporated into Merck/Schering Plough’s profit plan forecast and
that the Merck/Schering-Plough brand team is currently in the
process of conducting a more granular analysis based on the insights
from Sarah’s summer report.