GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) obtains Exclusive U.S. OTC Marketing Rights to MEVACOR(R) (lovastatin) from Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK). Agreement will Broaden Access to Cholesterol-Reducing Medicine.

GlaxoSmithKline and Merck & Co., Inc., have entered into an agreement for over-the-counter (OTC) marketing rights for MEVACOR(R) (lovastatin). Under the agreement, GSK will have exclusive rights to market non-prescription MEVACOR in the United States. Terms of the agreement are confidential but include milestone and royalty payments from GSK to Merck.

MEVACOR was introduced in the United States in 1987 by Merck as the first in a class of cholesterol-reducing medicines known as "statins". The U.S. patent for MEVACOR expired in 2001.

The new drug application (NDA) for OTC MEVACOR will be reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a joint meeting of the Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee (NDAC) and the Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee (EMDAC) on December 13. The NDA, filed by Merck, is seeking approval of OTC MEVACOR 20 mg taken once daily to help lower cholesterol. OTC MEVACOR 20 mg is proposed for use in women age 55 and older and men age 45 and older with moderately elevated cholesterol and one or more heart disease risk factors.