Schering, Plough-Merck Pharmaceuticals Get FDA Nod for Claritin-Singulair Combo Drug

Schering-Plough/Merck Pharmaceuticals said Tuesday the Food and Drug Administration accepted its new drug application for a combination of allergy drugs Claritin and Singulair.

Schering-Plough/Merck Pharmaceuticals, a joint venture between Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co. (MRK), is seeking marketing approval of loratadine/montelukast, which are the ingredients found in Claritin and Singulair, for treatment of nasal allergy symptoms.

The combined medicine comes in a single tablet, and contains active ingredients that are indicated for the relief of symptoms of allergic rhinitis, or inflammation of the mucous membrane in the nose.

If approved, the drug would be marketed as a prescription treatment by Schering-Plough/Merck Pharmaceuticals.

Schering-Plough received FDA approval in 2002 for the over-the-counter sale of the original prescription strength of Claritin tablets. Merck's Singulair is a prescription medicine approved to help control asthma and help allergy symptoms.

In late afternoon trading, shares of Schering-Plough declined 85 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $29.59. In the past year the stock has traded between $19.65 and $33.81.

Shares of Merck fell 95 cents to $49.18; in the last 12 months its price has ranged from $39.90 to $55.14.