There isn't much to like about big pharma these days. Beyond the substantial dividends -- that will hopefully be around in a few years -- it's hard to get excited about their growth potential over the next few years.
But the bulk that drags down the growth has its advantages, too.
For instance, Merck
If it was the other way around, Vertex would be crushed -- just look at Dendreon's
At this point, investors should be focused on Januvia and its combination brother, Janumet. The diabetes drugs rose 41% and 42%, respectively, in the third quarter, helping Merck boost its overall sales by 8% in the third quarter.
The company recently gained approval of a second combo product, Juvisync, which unites the active ingredient in Januvia with Merck's longtime generic statin, Zocor. I don't know if adding a cholesterol-lowering drug will really convert patients that are already on other diabetes medications like Takeda's Actos or Onglyza from Bristol-Myers Squibb
Another blockbuster certainly would be nice. It's clear it won't come from Victrelis, but a combination hepatitis C pill isn't out of the question. Merck and Roche hooked up earlier this year, agreeing to combine their medications to develop a combination drug.
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Fool contributor Brian Orelli holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Dendreon. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.